Something should be smoldering in the Strait of Hormuz very soon. That something should be an asset of the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy — the mullah regime’s pirate operation.

A message needs to be sent to Tehran that the game has changed. No longer should Iran be considered a partner in good faith diplomacy as it was by the Obama administration, who blotted out the decadeslong litany of terror and bloodshed Iran wrought on the Middle East and the West in exchange for globalist accolades.

Donald Trump is president now, and he’s not winning any prizes. Nobody likes him, no matter what path he takes. When he commits to peace, his critics mock him for being weak or a puppet of authoritarian regimes. When he stands strong, they call him a lunatic and a warmonger.

But Trump is not here to be liked. He is here to re-establish the United States as the world’s dominant superpower. A surefire way to do that is to face down any street bully in our path.

Iran has been provoking the United States and our European allies in an escalating fashion for months. There has been consistent harassment of vessels in shipping lanes, the shooting down of an American drone in June and now the seizure of two UK-operated tankers Friday.

The fanatical leadership in Tehran has been dialing up the antics as U.S. sanctions have tightened the noose on the country’s economy. The people of Iran largely despise their government, and the regime knows it is sitting on a powder keg. It is hoping that various international tantrums will move European governments to pressure Trump to loosen the sanctions and rejoin the Iran Deal.

That would send entirely the wrong message, emboldening Iran to act out again and again in increasingly extreme ways.

It is of the utmost importance that the Strait of Hormuz be protected from Iranian aggression. The way to do that is to warn Iran that it will pay a price, including the targeting of its gunboats for illegal ship seizures.

Strikes should be surgical and limited — no one wants war, but a reluctance to respond to Iran’s aggressions, which long predate the Trump and Obama administrations, will undoubtedly result in more provocations from Tehran, overtly or through a terrorist proxy.

Recently, Iran has warned that it intends to kick up its nuclear production, restarting deactivated centrifuges and ramping up uranium enrichment. An effective strike now would send a clear message that such actions would have consequences. The Obama-era days of covertly delivering pallets of cash are over.

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(c)2019 the Boston Herald

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