Iran Mulls Charging Foreign Ships Passing Through Strait Of Hormuz

The Iranian parliament plans to approve a motion that allows the country to begin collecting a toll from foreign ships passing through the Strait of Hormuz to compensate the Islamic Republic for the expense of providing security for them.

Speaking at a press conference in Tehran on Sunday, Amirhossein Qazizadeh Hashemi, a member of the presiding board of the parliament, gave some details about 10 motions devised by a parliamentary faction tasked with counteracting US measures against Iran, including the motion to charge foreign ships passing through Iranian waters in the Persian Gulf.

As Iran is the true provider of security in the region and international waters, the parliament believes that based on international norms and given the US government’s behavior, the costs of providing security should be paid by commercial centers and all vessels in the region “in the form of tolls”, he said.

As foreign ships pass through the Strait of Hormuz, which is 55 kilometers long, they enter the Iranian-controlled waters and therefore Iran should collect tolls from them, the lawmaker added.

The remarks come against the backdrop of increased tensions between Iran and the US with Washington imposing new sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

The US has ratcheted up pressure on Iran since last year after withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Since then, the administration of US President Donald Trump is trying to reduce Iran’s oil exports to “zero,” and has sent an aircraft carrier strike group, a bomber squad, an amphibious assault ship, and a Patriot missile battery to the Middle East to try to stack up pressure on Tehran.

Iranian officials, however, have dismissed such moves as psychological warfare, saying the country has its own ways of circumventing the American bans and selling crude oil.

In comments on April 24, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei said the US’ attempts to block the export of Iranian oil will get nowhere as Tehran will be exporting any amount of crude it needs and wants.

Describing a cut in Iran’s reliance on the export of oil as an opportunity, the Leader said such an opportunity will be used for further reliance on internal capabilities.

“Although the sanctions pave the way for problems in certain cases, they will benefit the country if they are dealt with correctly and logically,” Ayatollah Khamenei said at the time.

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