Analysis, Middle East, Side Feature

Britain Continues to Stir Tensions with Iran

Against a backdrop of talks related to British dual national prisoners accused of spying and tit-for-tat detaining of oil tankers, the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has continued to have high level meetings with the Iranians, purportedly to avoid escalation of the growing crisis, yet keeping tensions high. Johnson said this week that he saw the UK’s role as “serving as a bridge between our European friends and the Americans” on the issue, but added when asked about involving British the military he responded “We will consider in what way we can be useful, if asked, depending on what the exact plan is.” Johnson was able to have a meeting with Iranian President Rouhani at the UN, while the much anticipated Trump-Rouhani meeting did not go ahead.


Britain’s BBC have continued this week to report on the plight of British prisoners in Iran, while the UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab described Iran’s “arbitrary detention of dual nationals” as “unlawful, cruel and totally unacceptable”.

The Stena Impero oil tanker has left the Iranian port where it was detained since July, after Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel issued a statement on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, regarding the alleged Iranian attack on the Aramco Abqaiq and Khurais oil processing facilities in Saudi Arabia. “It is clear to us that Iran bears responsibility for this attack. There is no other plausible explanation. We support ongoing investigations to establish further details,” they said. On the issue of the 2015 nuclear agreement the statement added, “The time has come for Iran to accept negotiation on a long-term framework for its nuclear programme as well as on issues related to regional security, including its missiles programme and other means of delivery.”

Boris Johnson later added, rather contradictory, that the deal had many defects and that “I hope that there will be a (new) Trump deal, to be totally honest with you.”

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif suggested in a CNN interview that Iran would be prepared to accept permanent denuclearisation and permanent monitoring of its nuclear facilities in return for permanent sanctions relief.

Britain was embarrassed by the Grace 1 and Stena Imperial oil tankers fiasco earlier this year, which fed into its already increasingly hostile stance toward Iran. Although Britain uses the words of peace and de-escalation of tensions, it has in reality been goading others and promoting war with Iran over recent months. Whenever the US and Iran appear to be resolving their apparent dispute, Britain injected itself into the discussion to raise tensions once again. Iran has continued to allow itself to be used by America to put fear into the region and all who pass through it, to pressure them into cooperating with American designs for the Middle East. The situation has been like this since 1980s, which has tried the patience of America’s colonialist rivals, including Britain, Europe and even the Zionist Occupation forces in Palestine.


Yahya Nisbet

Media Representative of Hizb ut Tahrir in Britain