UANI Statement On Iranian Threats To Freedom Of Navigation

(New York, N.Y.) — United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) Chairman Senator Joseph I. Lieberman released the following statement today addressing the escalating threat posed by the Islamic Republic of Iran to freedom of navigation for merchant vessels.

“We are witnessing an alarming increase in the Iranian regime’s aggression toward merchant vessels operating in international waters, which has become a direct threat to freedom of navigation. Despite the presence of the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet and the U.S.-led Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) in the Persian Gulf Region, incidents of violence, harassment, and criminal piracy by Iran have become more frequent. In April, Iran seized a U.S.-bound oil tanker in international waters; in May, another Panama-flagged oil tanker was targeted between ports in the United Arab Emirates (UAE); and just yesterday U.S. and U.K. naval forces had to thwart another Iranian interference with a commercial vessel in the Strait of Hormuz.  

“The Wall Street Journal recently reported that the UAE has been frustrated by the lack of an American response to these Iranian seizures. This is part of a pattern of dissatisfaction from U.S. partners in the region over Washington’s inability to deter Tehran from its destabilizing activities and likely triggered the UAE’s withdrawal of participation in CMF. The U.S. government must do more to reassure our traditional allies in the Middle East or risk having them turn more to China.  

“According to the U.S. Navy, since 2021, Iran has harassed, attacked, or interfered with at least 15 internationally-flagged merchant vessels. These brazen and lawless actions should prompt Congress and the Biden Administration to ensure that the U.S. military has the necessary resources to effectively deter Iran’s malign maritime behavior. The number of incidents suggests the current capabilities are apparently insufficient for this purpose. President Biden could also order substantially greater naval forces to the region to protect the interests of the U.S. and our regional allies in international waters and respond to some of these incidents with military action, if necessary. That would help convince the UAE to resume its full cooperation with the CMF and work with the U.S. to deter further Iranian aggression.”