The tensions between Iran and the US European allies are escalating amid threats and warnings from Iran. The Europeans, however, are refusing to calm down.
Iran is threatening to withdraw from the nuclear deal causing panic and rage in Europe. Indeed, European powers are obsessed with salvaging the deal and do not want Iran to continue its uranium enrichment program and other activities that could sustain Tehran’s status to develop nuclear weapons. It is also a boundary line for US President Donald Trump, who has threatened to take necessary steps If Iran has to resume its uranium enrichment, which could include airstrikes on Iranian nuclear reactors sites.
Last month, tensions started rising after the seizure of an Iranian oil tanker by British officials in Gibraltar, accompanied by British Royal Marines. British Royal Marines in Gibraltar grid around an Iranian ship believed to have been carrying oil to Syria, which is, according to authorities is a violation of European Union sanctions on Syria.
As a retaliation act, Iran seized the British flagged Stena Impero in the strategically important Strait of Hormuz, claiming that it had collided with a fishing boat and violated international maritime laws.
The UK repeatedly revoked any exchange and has since been escorting every British-flagged tanker in the region.
Just a couple of weeks ago, Britain was demanding a European-led naval mission in the Gulf Sea, specifically the Strait of Hormuz. Now, it has joined what it claimed is a US-driven “international maritime security mission”, and Israel showing interest as well.
Iran has warned against disastrous outcomes if Israel involves and said the conference scheduled to take place in Bahrain on August 31 to discuss the mission was a “provocation”.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani addressed the US in threatening language, saying there can be no security in the Gulf without Iran’s intention and that no country will be able to export its oil if Iran is refrained from letting its exports done.
Things may appear calm but deep down, all these events are dragging the World towards the possibility of military escalation, either as a result of an accident in the Gulf or following strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities.
Russia is also trying to establish its influence over Tehran. Moscow could send a special envoy to Tehran next week seeking de-escalation through two measures, freezing the level of uranium enrichment and refraining from attacking tankers in the Gulf.
Iran’s proxy wars in Iraq, Yemen, Syria, and Lebanon are expanding its domain to balance its structural weakness caused by sanctions. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is also going to deploy a display force in the Strait of Hormuz.
The battle between the Trump administration and the IRGC-led administration in Tehran is escalated in the recent past. It is more likely now that in the coming days, the conditions will become worst than ever.