A risky strategy in London
Tehran, London, on the eve of Brexit, has made great deal of efforts to implement a strategy of more proximity to Washington and to align with the White House policies. The seizure of oil tanker carrying Iran’s oil in Gibraltar, and subsequently, the case of a British lawbreaking oil tanker in the Persian Gulf, is related to the outcome of this strategy.
The tensions between Iran and Britain over tankers have increased in recent weeks. The latest incident in this regard occurred on Friday, July 19, when the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) Navy seized the British tanker at the Strait of Hormuz, at the request of Hormuzgan Ports and Maritime Organization. The tanker, Stena Impero, was seized for violating the principle of safe passage.
One of the examples of the principle of safe passage is not to undermine the security for shipping; which the English tanker is said to be indifferent to. In this regard, the Director General of Ports and Maritime Organization of Hormuzgan Allah Morad Afifipour commented on the cause of the seizure of the tanker.
The senior official, in explaining why the British tanker was seized, underlined that the tanker had collided with a fishing vessel, but did not respond to the demand of the vessel and its surrounding forces to address the cause of the incident and the amount of damage, and changed its direction making the requests of other vessels unresponsive.
He added that, given that the British tanker’s actions had the potential to create danger for other regional ships, it was directed to the waters of Bandar Abbas at the request of the Organization of Ports and Maritime of Hormuzgan and in cooperation with the troops and forces of IRGC stationed in the area.
In addition to the fact that AfifiPour, based on international law, spoke about the risks of endangering the shipping, environmental damage for the region and the necessity of paying the costs by Stena Impero, some of the ports and maritime organization’s authorities referred to the other lawbreaking measures on the part of the oil tanker, including the fact that the tanker had switched off the automatic identification system (AIS) and had been moving in the opposite direction.
An automatic identification system is a shipreceiver system that transmits an identifier, position, and other vital floating information that can be used to assist navigation, improve maritime safety, and track ships for fleet management or maritime law enforcement.
Despite the fact that the British tankers’ violations in the Strait of Hormuz have been the reason for its seizure, some observers cite this action as retaliatory action by Tehran. The British Navy and the local government of Gibraltar, by provocations of the US, seized the oil tanker Grace 1 on July 4 on the border between Europe and Africa, claiming that the tanker carried two million barrels of Iranian oil to Syria.
While Britain, as one of the European members of the JCPOA along with the remaining states in the deal, is expected to find a way to deal with the unilateral US sanctions, it is in confirmatory with the United States. The head of the Spanish Foreign Ministry, Josep Borrell, and leading candidate to occupy the position of EU’s foreign policy chief, after the incident, argued that the tanker had been seized at the request of the United States.
It is worth noting that during this limited period, the seizure of Grace 1 oil tanker was extended for the second time. At first, the Gibraltar court extended the verdict to seize oil tanker for two weeks, until July 19, and by the end of the deadline, the court on Friday extended the term of seizure for one month.
Understanding Britain’s game with Grace 1 oil tanker is not difficult due to 2011 EU sanctions imposed on Syria. Experts in the international affairs believe that following the United States’ maximum pressure on Tehran, in particular the imposition of a policy of stopping exports by Iran, London is taking step in line with the White House, in the hope of a close partnership with the United States after Brexit and separation from the EU.
In addition to British alignment with the United States on exerting pressure on Iran regarding oil, London has also shown, in some other cases, that it is seeking Donald Trump’s satisfaction, like the decision made for his ambassador to Washington Sir Kim Darroch a few days ago, and in an attempt to prevent possible tension between the two countries he stepped down, because in the disclosed emails of Darroch, Trump illogical individual, his policies confused and inconsistent as well as his government were described shaky and ineffective .
Recently, some London officials have announced the possibility of imposing sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran for the seizure of British oil tanker; an approach that exponentially reflects British alignment with the Trump government. Observing these tendencies has made Tramp dare to interfere in internal affairs of Britain and, by denouncing Teresa May’s policies regarding Brexit, has practically shown public his support of former Foreign Minister Boris Johnson; positions which has led to a lot of negative reactions in London and has led to major concerns about conformity with Trump’s government unconventional policies.
Source: Islamic Republic News Agency IRNA