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Iran challenges Biden, claims land ownership: Report

Iran's flag (Dreamstime/TNS)
February 15, 2024

Iran has reportedly declared that it has “property rights” in Antarctica and plans to establish a military operation in the region. Iran’s claim of “property rights” presents a direct challenge to President Joe Biden, the United States, and multiple other countries under “The Antarctic Treaty.”

Last fall, Iran’s Navy commander announced that the country would build a military operation in the South Pole, claiming that the country had “property rights” in Antarctica during a televised broadcast, according to Fox News.

“We have property rights in the South Pole. We have plan to raise our flag there and carry out military and scientific work,” Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Shahram Irani said, according to a translation provided to Fox News by the Middle East Media Research Institute.

Iran’s claim to property in the South Pole threatens to challenge the Antarctic Treaty, which was signed by 12 nations in 1959 and took effect in 1961. The treaty states, “No new claim, or enlargement of an existing claim to territorial sovereignty in Antarctica shall be asserted while the present Treaty is in force.”

Fox News reported that the outlet asked a spokesperson with the U.S. State Department whether Iran could utilize the $6 billion in funds that the Biden administration recently unfreezed in Qatar to develop a military base in Antarctica.

“No. Iran’s funds held in Qatar may not be used for any activities in Antarctica,” the State Department spokesperson said. “Those funds can only be used to purchase humanitarian goods, meaning food, medicine, medical devices and agricultural products.”

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Yonah Jeremy Bob, a senior Jerusalem Post military and intelligence analyst, told Fox News that Iran’s plans to “expand its military presence and influence” in the Antarctic region continues its “trend of aggression across the globe” and could lead to the violation of “multilateral conventions on the issue.”

“Whether through terrorism on basically every continent or its rampant piracy in the maritime arena, the Islamic Republic continues to show why it is a danger to world stability and why Israel and the Mossad’s role in holding it back from nuclear weapons remains critical,” He warned. “Every time Tehran expands its tentacles into a new area to disrupt the rules-based order promoted by the West, the U.S. and its allies are given an additional opportunity to take the nuclear threat more seriously.”

Jennifer Dyer, retired commander of U.S. Naval Intelligence, told Fox News that Iran could “claim an interest in Antarctica” similar to the claims made by India, New Zealand, Chile, or Australia, since “little lies between Iran’s coast outside the Persian Gulf and the eastern hemisphere side of Antarctica.”