Saudi Arabia Calls for International Intervention against Iran
Saudi Arabia has called for international intervention in the Gulf after Iran seized a British-flagged tanker that was transiting the Strait of Hormuz. “Any attack on the freedom of navigation is a violation of international law.… The world community must take action to deter such behavior,” Riyadh’s foreign minister wrote on Twitter. The missive comes as the Stena Impero, along with its 23-member crew, remains impounded at the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas, not far from one of the country’s naval bases. The Islamic Republic contends that the move was retaliation for Britain’s role in the seizure earlier this month of an Iranian supertanker – replete with some 2 million barrels of oil – that was allegedly en route to Syria in contravention of European Union sanctions. London was expected to announce its next steps following a parliamentary meeting on Monday, although analysts do not believe any major penalties will be imposed. “We are going to be looking at a series of options. We will be speaking with our colleagues, our international allies, to see what can actually be done,” media quoted a top British defense official as saying. “Our first and most important responsibility is to make sure we get a solution to the issue with the current ship, [to] make sure other British-flagged [vessels] are safe to operate in [Gulf] waters, and then look at the wider picture.” That broader picture includes the fate of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, which the European parties to the accord – Britain, France and Germany – have been trying to salvage through the creation of a financial mechanism that would bypass US economic sanctions and therefore allow for continued non-dollar trade with the mullahs.