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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Tension mounts in the Persian Gulf

by our Arab affairs correspondent

TENSION IS MOUNTING in the Persian Gulf following imperialist threats of action against the Iranians, whom they blame for a deadly drone attack on an Israeli-managed oil tanker in the Arabian Sea off the shores of Oman last week.

Imperialist leaders in Britain and America are talking about a “collective response” to what they say is an Iranian threat to the freedom of shipping on the high seas while Israel warns it may take unilateral action against Iran for the strike against the Mercer Street, which is managed by Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer. But in Moscow the Kremlin says there is no indication of Iranian involvement in the attack, and no evidence has been presented to the Russian side to that effect from any party.

The double-standards of the imperialists and their Zionist stooges comes as no surprise to anyone on the Arab street. Only last March, the American media reported that Israel had secretly attacked at least a dozen Iranian tankers attempting to deliver oil to energy-starved Syria over the past two year period causing the equivalent of up to billions of dollars in damage.

The Romanian captain and a British security man were killed when the drone hit the Mercer Street last week but the Islamic Republic’s leaders say they had no hand in the bombing of the vessel and they warn of a robust response to any future imperialist aggression.

NATO issued a statement on Tuesday saying that it “strongly” condemns the strike on the Mercer Street, and blasted Iran, which the imperialist alliance said was “highly likely responsible” for the drone attack.

dutifully echoed

This was dutifully echoed by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who leads the imperialist pack in support of Israel in the wake of the incident, saying that the British government believes the Mercer Street attack “was a deliberate, targeted attack by Iran” and that it “welcomed” NATO’s support. The British government is now reportedly considering a range of options including cyberattacks against Iranian interests.

Meanwhile Western sources are claiming that “Iranian-backed forces” were responsible for the boarding of another tanker in the Gulf of Oman. But the gunmen who briefly tried to commandeer the Asphalt Princess have now left without bloodshed in circumstances that the Islamic Republic calls “suspicious”. The gunmen allegedly intended to order the ship to sail for Iran but Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have dismissed reports of their involvement and suggest that this was a staged provocation designed to provide a pretext for “hostile action” against Tehran.

This week an “informed source” told the Iranian media that the Islamic Republic would give a strong and crushing response to any measure taken against its national interests and security, blaming Britain and the US for the consequences of such moves against Tehran.

“Although the Islamic Republic of Iran considers threats posed by the officials of Western countries and the Zionist regime to be mostly of propaganda value, any measure against Iran’s interests and national security will be met with strong and crushing response, with Washington and London being directly responsible for consequences of such moves,” stated the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity with an Iranian news outlet close to the Supreme National Security Council.

The Israelis want to exploit the situation in their own interest which is to sabotage America’s current efforts to restore the Iran nuclear deal that was torn up by Donald Trump.

The new US president, Joe Biden, may simply want to up the ante to strengthen America’s bargaining position at the indirect talks that are continuing in Vienna. But it’s a dangerous game and one wrong move could easily plunge the Persian Gulf into a cycle of violence not seen since Iraq’s conflict with Iran in the 1980s.