During the Iraq-Iran war, specifically in May 7, 1984, Iran targeted a Saudi oil tanker in the Arabian Gulf, which provoked the Saudi government to establish a defensive aerial interdiction zone outside its territorial waters called “Fahad Line” and declare that any Iranian warplane flies over this area would be taken down without warning. A few months later, two Saudi F-15 air fighters intercepted four Iranian Phantom warplanes that penetrated the Saudi airspace, taking down two and causing damage to another, which forced Tehran to concede to Fahad Line completely in the past two decades without any intrusions. One and a half year ago, an Iranian civilian airplane tried to forcibly land at Sana’a airport followed by a failed attempt to dock a ship at the port of Hodeida Tehran claimed it carried relief supplies. In both incidents, the Saudi warplanes and naval forces intercepted the airplane and the ship and repelled them back to where they came from. Consequently, Riyadh informed Tehran that Fahad Line is still operational, had extended to include Yemen, and would counteract any attempt to penetrate this area.
Three days ago, three Iranian armed boats targeted the oil rig of Marjan field in the Arabian Gulf, but the Saudi coastguards did their due diligence, killing one of the attacking boats commanders. The Saudi authorities made an official statement confirming the incident and asserted that it had detained one of the three boats carrying three individuals, while the other two fled away.
Right before the Saudi statement, the Iranian media fabricated the whole story saying that an Iranian citizen was killed after the Saudi coastguards fired into two Iranian fishing boats dragged to the Saudi territorial waters. The Iranian story is incorrect and misleading because fishing boats are normally unarmed, while the Iranian detained boat by the Saudi coastguards was loaded with guns. Furthermore, one fishing boat could be dragged by water, but not three fast boats loaded with weapons, meaning that the boats were likely to carry out a sabotage attack on the oil rig.
So obviously, these boats were in contact with the Iranian revolutionary guards and were planning to carry out an attack against the Saudi oil site. Indeed, Iran used the Gulf crisis and launched missiles from the Iranian Kermanshah deep into the Syrian territories and maybe wanted to surprise Saudi Arabia through targeting the Saudi oil rig in the Arabian Gulf, knowing that some revolutionary guards commanders and other figures close to Khamenei made threats against the Kingdom following the twin attack on the tomb of Khomeini and the Iranian parliament two weeks ago although the ISIS had claimed responsibility for those acts.
Economically, Tehran would merely confuse the world oil markets and impact the Saudi oil production to gain a bigger share in these markets, knowing that Iran aims to increase its oil production that would be no use unless the Saudi daily production declines. Furthermore, Marjan field is a joint oil field between Iran and Saudi Arabia, and since the Iranian oil infrastructure is incomparable with the Saudi state of the art one, it is possible Tehran wanted to slow the Saudi oil production from this field until it accomplishes its under-construction infrastructure. In general, we are used to the Iranian terrorist activities and their purpose of spreading chaos and destruction; however, this attempt was frustrated by Allah’s will and then vigilance of our valiant heroes of the Saudi coast guard forces.
King Fahad Ibn Abdul-Aziz may Allah have mercy upon him is gone, but his line is staying. Any attempt to penetrate this area and trespassing on the Saudi lands and sovereignty will be rebuffed and face a decisive action from air, land, and sea. It is very important for Tehran to understand that Saudi Arabia is ready for any Iranian adventurism whatever the size is or the tools are. Had the Iranian boats succeeded and reached the oil rig, it would have led to a direct war between the two countries and would have serious ramifications on the region. All in all, the Iranian regime has to seriously reconsider the random actions of the revolutionary guards and its proxy militias.
Opinions in this article reflect the writer’s point of view, not necessarily the view of The Arabain Gulf Centre for Iranian Studies