UK captured sailors and Iran’s isolated diplomacy

Iran is using its capture of UK sailors in parallel with the UN sanctions over its nuclear program to escalate tension with UK, the key ally of the USA over issues in the Middle East, mainly Iraq and Iran nuclear program.

Iran is already getting internationally isolated following the latest UN Security Council resolution, which toughened its sanctions against it. It has nothing to lose by prolonging the UK marines’ crisis, as it will use this incident to watch the world’s reaction and at the same time to show it still has influence in the region- knowing that this triggered, among other things, a rise in oil prices.

This will be an occasion for the Iranian regime to stir the public internally as according to it each action it takes has resonance worldwide. Iran also seeks to sway the public to its side by appearing as defiant and the victim of “unjustified» sanctions and territorial aggression in preparation for a US military strike or invasion. But as things stand a military attempt to free the mariners can be disproportionate as it will fuel undesirable consequences, including an open war with the American and British forces stationed in Iraq.

As for the British troops stationed in Iraq, their planned withdrawal can be delayed and even more troops will be needed to face the current situation.

As it seems the logic of diplomacy dictates that Iran should treat the issue of sailors and sanctions separately. UK, if it believes that sailors were wrongly abducted, should use its international influence to get them out of Iran. It has NATO, the EU (the major military and economic blocs that can practically stand by it side) and also some of the friendly Gulf States that have good relations with Iran. Further escalation will harm the interests of both countries in the Middle East, but it looks Iran will suffer more if this incident will be a prelude for further international isolation .

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