Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt tweeted his view on the Iran crisis recently – that responsibility for the attacks in the Gulf of Oman almost certainly lies with Iran. Meanwhile, conclusive evidence from the US has been sorely lacking, despite Pompeo’s assertion that Iran was to blame.
Debate continues to rage about culpability, and what is to be gained from the attacks, apart from an increased likelihood of war. CNN published an interesting analysis, pointing out that US officials blamed Iran for attacks in May, but John Bolton has failed to present evidence to the UN Security Council to back up his claims.
Looking at all the claims and counter-claims, fingers are pointed variously at Iran, the US, Saudi Arabia and plenty of unknown others. All the more reason that definitive proof should be provided.
Guardian columnist Simon Tisdall says the Iran crisis was created in Washington, and slates Jeremy Hunt for having ‘tamely applauded Washington’s dodgy video dossier’. Many of us remember the ‘dodgy dossier’ that took us into the war on Iraq, and this must not be allowed to happen again.
Others describe ongoing events as Pompeo’s ‘Gulf of Tonkin’ incident against Iran, referring to the events in 1964 where a naval confrontation between the US and North Vietnam in the Gulf of Tonkin was misrepresented by the US to justify greater US military engagement in Vietnam, leading to a full-on war in which millions were killed.
No one should rush to any judgement without evidence, but it should be noted that the US has form – as does the UK – when it comes to Iran. In 1953, the US and UK governments worked together to overthrow the democratically elected Iranian prime minister, Mohammad Mossadegh. Their goal was to retain US and UK control over Iranian oil reserves, which he had sought to limit. The failure of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company to comply with Mossadegh’s attempts to audit the company’s documents led the Iranian parliament to nationalise Iran’s oil industry. The coup followed shortly afterwards and the rule of the despotic Shah was strengthened.
Some might say this is a jaundiced view, but that is not the case. Sixty years later, in August 2013, the US government released documents that formally acknowledged the role of the US in both planning and executing the coup. The CIA admitted that the coup was carried out under CIA direction, as an act of US foreign policy, ‘conceived and approved at the highest levels of government’.
Those willing to throw around accusations without irrefutable evidence should take a warning from history: from 2003 and the dodgy dossier which led to the illegal and unforgivable war on Iraq, and from 1953 and the illegal and unforgivable intervention against a sovereign country and its democratically elected leader.