What was the point of Iran’s “fake news” IRGC ship raid?

Iran said this week that it would release momentous news about a major military operation. Iran’s state media said Wednesday that “in the next few hours” news would be released that would make supporters of the ruling Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps regime proud. Iranian observers waited patiently. What could it be? They asked. Hacking the United States. A cyber attack on Israel? A new aerospace program, drones, missiles, satellites, nuclear technology.

Then word came that it was the Gulf of Oman and the IRGC navy. The IRGC is a revolutionary guard, a kind of praetorian guard created to defend the “revolution” in Iran. But over the years he has absorbed epic resources, from economics to foreign policy, sending cadres to fight abroad, advising wars in Syria and Iraq, and working with representatives in Lebanon and Yemen. It also has drones, boats and all kinds of weapons. As such, it conducts operations in place of the army, navy, and the usual formal elements of the Iranian regime. The IRGC has even more power under the new president. But he also wants to prove himself. This is perhaps because Iran has suffered setbacks such as sanctions and sabotage and cyber-scams. But the IRGC is successful, using drones to attack American forces.

When the announcement came in, he claimed that the United States had attempted to “hack” a tanker that Iran was using and that the oil in the tanker was transferred by the United States. Iran, in an intrepid foray, sent a helicopter with elite IRGC troops to lower the ship and retrieve the oil, right in front of the Americans. Then Iran did its greatest feat of all, recapturing the tanker while the United States Fifth Fleet, the world’s greatest naval power, was defenseless. The United States went after the tanker and failed, the Iranians claimed.

There was even video, curiously it seemed to have been filmed from the ship before being boarded, and it followed the Iranian raid, which was unopposed. The tanker was allegedly taken back to Iran on October 25. Apparently there hadn’t been such an epic naval encounter since Sir Francis Drake outwitted the leading Spaniard. Maybe.

The IRGC takes a boat near the island of Bu Musa, Iran (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The United States rejected the Iranian claims. US Defense officials questioned the story to US media such as CBS. They said that last week’s incident involved two US Navy destroyers who “were sent to monitor a Vietnamese-flagged ship that had been seized by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, but that there was no attempt to intervene or seize the shipment, ”CBS said. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby responded to IRGC claims about the seizure of an Iranian tanker in the Gulf of Oman, saying the allegations are “totally false and not true.”

TankerTrackers.com monitoring posted posting about the incident, adding to skepticism. They posted a summary of what really happened. They note that IRGC ships invaded the tanker SOTHYS and that the IRGC’s goal was to attract the attention of the US Navy.The Navy responded because it was a commercial ship.
The incident occurred on October 24. The apparently true story of this ship is that it sailed for China where its cargo was rejected and returned with its 700,000 barrels of oil. She was going back to Iran anyway. The tanker flies the Vietnam flag and is apparently owned by a Vietnamese company, TankerTrackers.com wrote on Twitter. It was “tasked” with transporting Iranian crude oil. The oil trade between Iran and China has been in the news lately. The IRGC, after bragging and making up this story, has doubled down. The Fars and Tasnim media are full of stories about how Iran is the “anchor” of security in the region and has outwitted the Americans. The Iranian media published cartoons of the tanker escaping from the clutches of the United States. But it is not clear that the tanker escaped from anything. It appears that Iran organized the attack on its own oil for no reason, except to pretend that it was “capturing” it from the United States. This was to cover up an Iranian failure to export oil. He hijacked his own oil to make failure seem less embarrassing.
But the Iranian media runs with the story. “Americans are used to constantly losing to Iran: Major General Salami’s account of the IRGC’s confrontation with the United States in the Sea of ​​Oman,” says Fars News. Iran claims that its oil exports are also increasing. Iran’s IRGC also publishes its own headlines, such as “Top thanks for recent IRGC action: We will not allow the interests of the Iranian nation to be attacked.”

Basically, the story is that the IRGC wanted to show off. It didn’t have much to do with it, so he seems to have made up a story of big and daring raids just to show a video, which he had prepared to produce, such as a propaganda film or a staged incident. Meanwhile, Iran’s Fars News published an article on how US naval personnel were detained and detained in 2016. Iran also detained British sailors in 2007. This means that Iran is trying to relive past incidents, but has apparently failed to attract the US. Similar scenario.

The general lesson here is that Iran wants to create an incident. He’s willing to use speedboats, helicopters, and IRGC forces in a way that could lead to a real live-fire incident. It has harassed American ships in the past. Much of this is done for propaganda purposes, to create videos that can be shown in Iran.

The IRGC is also trying to prove itself to the regime. However, Iran’s leaders must know that this story is totally false or partially false and they will wonder what the IRGC is doing. The IRGC operates in a bleak world of anarchy, conducting Iran’s foreign and military policy. However, even in the shadows, he apparently needs to create fake news from time to time to pretend he’s doing “something.” It is also possible that he is trying to lure America into an incident, and this was just a test.


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