By Pooya Stone
A former Royal Navy officer has criticised former Prime Minister Theresa May for an “appalling” response to the Iran tanker standoff, saying that it failed to convince the EU or the US to support the UK in retaliatory action.
Rear-Admiral Chris Parry also laid into former Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, saying that his “muddled thinking” of assuming the EU would support his plan without consulting the countries first, meant that the UK lost the support of Iran’s biggest enemy, the US.
Parry said: “I don’t think the Government did a good job at all. I think, if one of my students at the Maritime Warfare Center come up with the plan I would have sacked them. It was absolutely appalling, it put no pressure on the Iranians at all. It didn’t bring in the Americans, who the Iranians really fear. And the European Union seems to have gone AWOL. So not a great plan.”
He explained that it is the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), who are “making all the troubles in the Gulf at the moment”. The IRGC is listed as a terror group in the US and there are growing calls for the UK and the EU to do the same.
However, Parry seemed confident that the new British government, with Boris Johnson as the new PM, will regain control and get the support of the US and EU in the fight against Iran.
His comments come at the same time that Iran released footage supposedly showing its IRGC commandos warning off British naval officers on Monday, with the video showing an Iranian IRGC patrol boat facing off against a UK warship during the seizure of the British-flagged Stena Impero oil tanker on July 19.
The IRGC defended the seizure, claiming that the tanker violated maritime laws by ignoring warnings, turning off its positioning device, and colliding with an Iranian fishing boat.
In the clip, an Iranian operator told the warship: “This is the IRGC Navy patrol boat, don’t put your life to danger… The tanker is under my control. You are ordered to not interfere in my operation.”
A British naval officer replied: “This is British warship F236. [Our ship is] in the vicinity of an internationally recognised strait with a merchant vessel conducting transit passage”.
Then, IRGC commandos surrounded the ship, forced it into Iranian waters, and stormed the ship.
This came one week after UK forces captured the Iranian supertanker Grace 1 in the Strait of Gibraltar because they suspected it was transporting oil to Syria in violation of EU sanctions.