London, 29th July 2019
Tactics Institute for Security & Counter Terrorism calls on Iran to immediately cease any provocative actions in the Persian Gulf and thereby reduce political and military tensions.
A cessation of hostile actions would bring much-needed stability and calm to a vital strategic region and create space for diplomacy to work.
The Institute condemns Iran’s detention of the British tanker Stena Impero on 19th July, which ratcheted up tensions which had been steadily increasing. Iran says the tanker was taken in retaliation for the earlier seizure of the Iranian oil tanker, Grace 1, near Gibraltar by the British Royal Marines on 4th July.
After the Grace 1 incident, Tehran threatened to capture a British oil tanker, and a fortnight later detained the Stena Impero, claiming it was “violating international maritime rules”.
The British have said that Iran’s seizure of these ships was disproportionate and have ruled out an exchange of vessels. The UK claim that Grace 1 was destined for Syria, in breach of sanctions. Foreign secretary Dominic Raab stated: “We were absolutely lawfully entitled to detain it in the way we did. The Stena Impero was unlawfully detained. This is not about some kind of barter. This is about the international law and the rules of the international legal system being upheld and that is what we will insist on.”
The situation in the Persian Gulf has become alarming in recent weeks. While Iran has some undoubted legitimate grievances, the Islamic Republic must face its responsibility not to provoke other states with what Tehran knows they will consider to be “hostile acts”.
The crisis in the Gulf has seen Tehran accuse the United States of “economic terrorism” and the US increase its military presence in Saudi Arabia. The UK has also bolstered its presence, sending two warships to protect vital commercial shipping through the Strait of Hormuz.
Tactics Institute believes that to progress the causes of peace and stability, Iran should release the British-flagged tanker it holds and cease from its threats of obstructing international trade through the Strait.
In return, the US should back down from punitive economic sanctions, which are hurting the Iranian population, and the European Union must be steadfast in putting its collective weight behind the Iran nuclear deal, despite Washington’s unilateral withdrawal.
Tactics Institute for Security and Counter Terrorism is an independent, non-partisan, think tank. Tactics researches terrorism to identify its causes and best possible remedies, always bearing in mind the protection of individual liberties and the human rights of all those affected.
For more information please contact Tactics Institute for Security and Counter Terrorism at firstname.lastname@example.org