By Sean Jackson
On Tuesday, August 3rd Iranian president Hassan Rouhani stated in a speech on Iranian state TV that war with Iran is the mother of all wars. Rouhani also warned that shipping in today’s current tumultuous environment might not be safe in the Strait of Hormuz, a key oil shipping waterway.
President Rouhani spoke at the Foreign Ministry, where he praised the Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif after the U.S. imposed further sanctions on July 31st. “Peace with Iran is the mother of all peace, war with Iran is the mother of all wars,” Rouhani warned, referring to the current tensions between Iran and the West.
Rouhani noted that if the United States wants to have negotiations with Iran then they would have to lift all sanctions, specifically the ones allowing Iran to continue exporting oil. “A strait for a strait,” Rouhani said. “It can’t be that the Strait of Hormuz is free for you and the Strait of Gibraltar is not free for us.”
Rouhani refers to the UK impounding an Iranian oil tanker on July 4th that was seized by thirty Royal Marines near Gibraltar. While Iran claimed the seizure was an act of ‘piracy,’ the UK suggested the tanker was suspected of breaking EU sanctions by delivering oil to Syria – a claim that Iran has denied.
The Strait of Hormuz is the key waterway for oil shipping, with an estimated one-fifth of the entire world’s oil passing through on a yearly basis, and the heightened tensions come after the U.S. withdrawing unilaterally from the 2015 nuclear deal.
The statement from Rouhani comes amid Iranian forces seizing another oil tanker, this time one from Iraq. The Revolutionary Guard stated that they have detained seven sailors for “smuggling fuel for some Arab countries.”
Reports indicate that the operation to seize the ship happened last Wednesday, July 31st, when the vessel was intercepted carrying approximately 154,000 gallons of fuel . The tanker was reported to have been escorted to Bushehr Point in southwestern Iran and the fuel was confiscated by Iranian authorities.
The Iraqi News Agency indicated that Iraq’s Oil Ministry said it has no connection whatsoever with the ship, stating, “The ministry does not export diesel to the international market.” The Oil Ministry stated they were going to seek additional information to figure out who the ship belonged to.
All of this comes amid two separate attacks and seizures of oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman over the past few months – Tehran claims that they were not involved and that those allegations are unfounded. The United States also claims that Iran shot down a surveillance drone over the Strait of Hormuz in international waters, a claim that Iran disputes stating that it was in fact flying over Iranian airspace.