US Now Offering $15 Million to Captains of Iranian Tankers If They Sail Them Into Ports Where the US Can Seize Them

Why didn't Blackbeard think of that?

If at first you don’t succeed, spread some money around. The Financial Times reports that the US State Department is offering cash bribes to captains of Iranian ships if they sail those ships into ports where the US government can seize them.

The offers are funded from a “Rewards for Justice” program authorizing payouts of up to $15 million for “counter-terrorism” purposes. It’s not about counter-terrorism, though. It’s about doubling down on US President Donald Trump’s decision to violate the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, usually called the “Iran Nuclear Deal.”

The other parties to the deal – especially France, the UK, and Germany – don’t want to let the deal go, but also don’t want to enrage Trump by violating the unilateral sanctions he’s imposed on Iran. The Iranians, on the other hand, have made it clear that unless those other countries find ways to deliver meaningful sanctions relief, they’re abandoning the deal too. They’ve started taking concrete steps in that direction.

On July 4 – Independence Day in the United States – members of the United Kingdom’s Royal Marines boarded an Iranian oil tanker, the Grace 1, off the coast of Gibraltar. They seized ship, crew, and cargo in an act of open piracy.

The pretext for the seizure was that selling oil to Syria violates European Union sanctions. But neither Iran nor Syria are EU member states, and the tanker was taken in international “transit passage” waters. That’s like giving a speeding ticket to a driver in Hungary for violating Kazakhstan’s speed limits.

Spain’s foreign minister, Josep Borrell, plausibly asserted that the seizure was requested by the US government. The ship was released after Iran agreed that the oil would not go to Syria (its whereabouts and destination remain unknown as of this writing).

In the meantime, a US court had issued a seizure warrant – for an Iranian vessel, carrying Iranian oil, to a non-US destination, clearly outside any reasonable definition of US jurisdiction. And the Iranians had hijacked a British-flagged tanker in the Strait of Hormuz in reprisal for the taking of Grace 1.

So now the US State Department is reduced to simple bribery in its attempts to clean up after Trump’s 2016 campaign promise to get the US out of the “nuclear deal.”

Under the deal, the Iranians went beyond their obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty to “end” a nuclear weapons program which the US intelligence community didn’t even believe existed. All they got out of it was some relief from sanctions that should never have been imposed, and the return of some money stolen by the US government decades ago. All the US got out of it was an empty propaganda victory.

But electoral politics required Trump to throw even that tiny trophy away. He had to either promise foreign policy belligerence SOMEWHERE or risk establishment mockery as a peacenik. Enter the Israeli lobby and Sheldon Adelson’s millions. Iran drew the short straw.

So did we. This is war in all but name and only likely to escalate as Election 2020 draws nigh.


  1. thomas malthaus says

    A rumor circulating via Greg Hunter has it that President Trump will meet Iran President Hassan Rouhani on September 25 in Washington. I hope Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javid Zarif would also be invited.

    In rapprochement’s spirit, I might suggest expanding the radius for which they may travel so as to “expand” their horizons. I doubt they’ll be impressed, but to convey a image of freedom is always good public relations.

    It goes without saying that National Security Adviser John Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Special Adviser Jared Kushner should be no shows re Iran between now and then. Is that possible?

    I believe the president will listen to Iran’s broad base plan for Middle East peace. It will necessarily center about a two state solution and require Israel to give ground, literally.
    It will include discussion for maintaining oil flows through the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf. I wouldn’t count on an oil deal that supplies Iran oil to America just yet.

    Iran’s military forces may be operating neart the US equivalent of DEFCON II.

    Then again, this meeting may be a rumor and peace has been avoided once again.

    In the end, it’s all about peace and not Benjamin Netanyahu. His political fortunes will rise and fall on his perceived merits. If the Israeli electorate can find any.

  2. chris chuba says

    And if anyone took the U.S. up on their offer these morons don’t think that Iran would respond.
    1. The Islamic Republic of Iran will give any Capt. up to $5M for a U.S. naval vessel.
    2. A U.S. merchant ship mysteriously gets mined (we aren’t good at catching Iranians in the act).

  3. JustPassingThrough says

    15million = a bullet in the brain
    not a difficult decision, is it?

  4. ArcAngel says

    More comedy with my morning coffee and breakfast. Outstanding.
    Watching US politicians in action is just jaw dropping in their completely anti-Human, demonic, vile, bloodlust criminality.
    There is no more pretending… as they have acted over the last 100 years, now its just a viper den of psychopathic idiots.
    $15 million bribes – hilarious. Of curse- It will another matter for a Captain to collect the “ill gotten booty” if he decides to steal a ship and sail it into Hell… sorry “US friendly port”.

    “Blackbeard” didn’t need the cash… he sailed for The Admiralty.

  5. George Silversurfer says

    Lets put a bounty for all american govt officials.

    1. ArcAngel says

      Nice one John.
      isn’t that the latest installment of the “East India Trading Company” (British).
      Take care

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