UK takes the bait on Iran and has to face the music: Analysis

Press TV – US President Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known commonly as the Iran nuclear deal, on May 8, 2018.

The Trump administration then rallied the world to win Washington’s affection by upholding brutal international sanctions against the Islamic Republic as part of its misguided policy of maximum pressure on Iran in violation of the Iran deal.

The administration’s strategy towards Iran, misguided as it is, must remain on track and roll on in a one-way direction which is maximum pressure via economic sanctions leading to hunger and civil unrest, then regime change in Iran.

Maximum pressure is the decided way for the United States. However, the misguided policy of maximum pressure on Iran is in a deadlock.

In this regard Washington’s “special” ally, Britain, has not been helping out.

Britain, which was a main broker and one of the signatories of the Iran deal but remains desperately short of friends due to Brexit, was forced to take the bait to restore its “special” relations status with the US during this testing time.

It orchestrated the Gibraltar tanker incident, seizing a supertanker carrying Iranian oil. The move escalated tensions with Iran to a new level.

UK’s self-harming move

Tehran University Professor Mohammad Marandi told the “Iran Today” program that by orchestrating the Gibraltar tanker incident with Iran, Britain committed an act of self-harm.

“The British are hurting themselves. Because, they are not in a position to hurt Iran. Their navy does not have the fire power that would raise any eyebrows in Tehran. They are only creating antagonism among Iranian population. So by obeying the US and hijacking Iranian ships, the British government is losing long-term credibility in this part of the world.”

Meanwhile, Trump’s promise to back Britain has scant practical value – and carries inherent dangers, according to The Guardian.

Reaping the whirlwind

Iran recently stopped a British vessel Stena Impero after it breached international maritime laws by crossing a prohibited maritime passage in the Strait of Hormuz.

The vessel was transferred to Iran’s Bandar Abbas for legal proceedings.

This was quickly interpreted as a tit-for-tat response by Iran to the UK’s impounding of the Iranian oil supertanker Grace 1 off the coast of Gibraltar, two weeks earlier.

Hossein Naqavi-Hosseini, an Iranian MP and a member of the parliament’s national security and foreign policy committee, believes the British government’s seizure of the Iranian oil tanker is quite different from Iran’s seizure of the British oil tanker.

“These two issues have nothing to do with each other. We never refer to it as a counteraction,” he said.
A British navy vessel patrols near supertanker Grace 1 off the coast of Gibraltar on July 6, 2019. (Photo by AFP)

Iran’s government still reserves the right to respond strongly to Britain’s illegal apprehension of the Iranian oil tanker, according to the lawmaker.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran has the right to take appropriate action against UK’s antagonism,” Naqavi-Hosseini said.

Iran’s apprehension of the British oil tanker, he said, was due to the violation of the rules and regulations that pertain to the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz by the British oil tanker.

“Iran would have done the same thing if it was an American or Russian or any other country’s vessel. As a result, given the fact that in counteraction you don’t have to resort to the international law, Iran still reserves the right to respond appropriately to the UK for its seizure of the Iranian oil tanker illegally.”