The attempted hijacking of a bulk carrier in the Gulf of Oman is the latest in an alarming number of terrorist operations against shipping. As with the others – including a drone attack that killed two crewmen, among them Adrian Underwood, a British national, last week – the finger of blame is being pointed at Iran. Tehran has denied responsibility but it is hard to imagine who else it might be and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRG) have a history of targeting shipping.

The IRG said they were being blamed in order to justify action against Iran which suggests that they are testing the West’s resolve. Yet apart from Israel, the international community is struggling to devise a common policy against this threat. The Americans, who would normally be looked to for leadership, think Britain and the EU should be in the vanguard.

Dominic Raab, the Foreign Secretary, has written to the United Nations’ security council, urging it to act. But the UN has no power of its own so this is hardly a robust response along the lines proposed by Sir Nick Carter, the head of the military.

Furthermore, what is the EU doing sending a senior diplomatic representative to the inauguration today of the new Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi, a hard-liner known as the Butcher of Tehran’? Enrique Mora, deputy secretary-general of the European External Action Service, the bloc’s diplomatic body, is to attend the event because “it is crucial to engage diplomatically with the new administration and to pass directly important messages.” Britain’s chargé d’affaires in Iran, a less senior figure but nonetheless significant, is also expected to be there.

Both the EU and the British Government are among those still hoping to resurrect the nuclear deal disavowed by the Trump administration but it would be a serious mistake to be seen endorsing the new leader of a country engaged in state-sponsored terrorism on the high seas.

Source » telegraph