Britain has captured an Iranian oil tanker near the coast of Gibraltar, temporarily holding the crew hostage. They claim that the vessel was transporting oil to Syria. Britain then also claimed that ships of the Iranian Revolution Guard Corps tried to capture a British oil tanker in the Persian gulf. Iran denies this.
The US, playing their role of world police, wasted no time to use this situation for their agenda of warmongering. This comes as no surprise, as the US are jumping on any “justification” for an intervention, not too concerned about the truth behind those stories. The more concerning news in this story is the active role of Britain.
The European imperialists have so far tried to keep up their neutral facade. They proclaimed to be for the nuclear deal, against war. They have however always had shared interests with US imperialism. In the sharpening contradiction between US imperialism and Russian and Chinese imperialism with Iran, their stronghold in the middle east, the European imperialists are clearly on the side of the US. There are contradictions between the European imperialists and the US, but they are not principally against the oppression and the exploitation of the Iranian people and not principally against war with Russia and China. They have only shown concerns with the consequences such a war would have for them.
Germany has stated this very clearly by saying: “There is not only a threat of a military escalation in the region, but also of a new stream of refugees into Europe.” They have been very vocal in condemning Iran for taking up its production of enriched Uranium again. France and Britain have been more outspoken to preserve the nuclear deal, but in the region they are both clearly positioned against Russia and China. They show this with their support for Saudi Arabia in the war in Yemen, with Iran actively supporting the other side. Saudi Arabia is the biggest export land for US arm sales and a western stronghold against Iran. Neither France nor Germany criticized Britain for taking the ship hostage.
Loosing the trade benefits with Iran is of course not easy for the European imperialists. But still their efforts to work around the US sanctions cannot be called serious. The Instex-mechanism that was created for this purpose, wasn’t accompanied by legal safety guarantee for all European concerns trading with Iran. Following the US-Sanctions is theoretically illegal but practically unpunished. This has become clear with the US approving Instex and Iran rejecting it as an alternative for the nuclear deal at the conference in Vienna at the end of June.
Britain’s aggression and the compliance by the other European imperialists can be seen as an alignment with US policies and has to be condemned by all anti-imperialist and revolutionary forces in Europe and the world. They need instead to support the people of Iran, in the spirit of internationalism, in the struggle against an imperialist intervention.