The US Navy has caught the Iranian Revolutionary Guard removing a limpet mine from Japanese Merchant Vessel Kokuka Courageous. The crew abandoned ship after seeing the second — failed — limpet mine on its hull and was picked up by the Dutch tug Coastal Ace.
There was then a race between an Iranian Hendijan class patrol boat and a US destroyer to pick up the Kokuka Courageous crew from Coastal Ace. The destroyer, USS Bainbridge, won the race. The video below is of a IRGC Gashti class patrol boat that approached the M/T Kokuka Courageous afterwards. It is digital video recorded from USS Bainbridge or one of its aircraft showing the removal of the unexploded limpet mine from the M/T Kokuka Courageous.
The earlier tanker attack on the Norwegian Front Altair saw the IRGC take the crew hostage and transport them to Iran.
This Iranian behavior is the classic “Irrational regimes become more so under pressure” hypothesis in action.
The basic concept is that for certain unstable regimes (or even stable ones with no effective means of resolving internal disputes peacefully, particularly the succession of power) domestic power games are far more important than anything foreign, and that foreigners are only symbols to use in domestic factional fights.
What you are seeing here with the “Limpet Mine Tanker War” are the externals of the internal mullah factional power games of “Who can be more nutball than thou” to gain more short term power without regards to external reality.
(“Nutball” in this case meaning “Attack the Great Satan” to show you are more daring, militant, and blessed by Allah. Thus deserving of power, money and followers inside the Iranian mullahocracy.)
Now, as an exercise in pattern recognition, use this template and replace “foreigners” with “other political party”.
Hint — In political parties and other NGOs it’s all about being captured in a “patron-client” relationship by the narrow interests with the most money.
If you want to know why things are so crazy in world and domestic American politics, applying the “Irrational regimes become more so under pressure” hypothesis, which is driving Iran’s Limpet Mine Tanker War, will do much to answer the question.