The Iranian position continues to deteriorate. The nation is voluntarily backing itself into a corner as its leaders push forward with a quasi-brinkmanship strategy which holds little prospect of bearing fruit anytime soon. Tehran’s diplomatic missteps and excitable rhetoric are adding fuel to a fire that is on the verge of becoming an out of control conflagration.
Iran’s military vows retaliation against the British for the seizure of an Iranian oil tanker off Gibraltar by British forces last week. The tanker was transporting the oil to Syria in violation of EU sanctions in place against the Assad regime. British Petroleum (BP) is holding one of its oil tankers inside of the Persian Gulf amid fears that Iran could attempt to seize the tanker as it passes through the Strait of Hormuz. The prospect of this, as well as worries that Iran will move forward with plans to charge foreign ships a toll for passage through the Strait of Hormuz, are prompting concerns that a military confrontation between Iran and the West is imminent.
Iran’s premeditated violation of the 2015 nuclear agreement is not helping matters. The foreign ministers from Germany, France, Great Britain, and the European Union have officially acknowledged that Iran is pursuing activities in direct contradiction to its compliance responsibilities under the agreement. A commission of the signatories is expected to be convened in the near future and could lead to international sanctions being placed back on Iran. However, given that China, and Russia are also signatories of the nuclear agreement, a snapback of sanctions is not guaranteed.
With US sanctions crushing Iran’s economy, the expectation was that Iran would give a little leeway by now. The hardliners in Tehran, have seen fit not to budge an inch though, and continue to move the crisis in a dangerous direction.
Apologies for being out of the loop over an extended holiday weekend, but I’m gradually getting back up to speed now. I will post more tomorrow, and in the coming days.