Preventing war between the U.S. and Iran is opportunity for the UK

The Iran-US showdown has captured the world’s attention, but this is not the only issue currently threatening the international order.

July 13, 2019 21:44
3 minute read.
Preventing war between the U.S. and Iran is opportunity for the UK

President Donald Trump announced on June 22 that the US would impose “major” additional sanctions on Iran.. (photo credit: REUTERS/CARLOS BARRIA)

The United States’s withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Deal, the wave of sanctions applied by the Trump administration on Iran’s lagging economy and constant anti-American, threatening rhetoric by Iranian high-ranking government officials have exacerbated the highly sensitive US-Iran relations.

The recent downing of a US drone by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the attacks on two oil tankers near the Gulf of Oman, which prompted the US Navy to send the destroyer USS Bainbridge and the guided-missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf to the area, have dragged these countries to the brink of war – and Iran and the US boast two of the most powerful militaries in the world.

As the drums of war rumble in the Strait of Hormuz, a cyberattack launched in June by the US Cyber Command on Iranian weapons systems is the latest retaliatory measure aimed at weakening Iran’s military might. In July, Iran, in a pragmatic maneuver that will move this country closer to obtaining an atomic bomb, announced that it would breach the limits on uranium enrichment set by the Iran Nuclear Deal, which was specifically structured to keep Iran from becoming a nuclear power.

The escalation of this impasse is imminent, unless a tactical nation like the United Kingdom, a natural ally of the US and a cordial partner of Iran, foments a pacific solution to avert an armed conflict between these military powerhouses.

Known for its high-performing, far-reaching diplomatic service; its proven track record at promoting peace and security; and its cordial diplomatic relations with most aligned and non-aligned countries, the UK is a strategic country that can mediate between the US and Iran, countries that do not hold diplomatic relations.

The United Nations, a platform in which the UK has a central role as a Permanent Five member of the Security Council, is the ideal mechanism to start a dialogue between Washington and Tehran.

The UK has seasoned diplomats at the UN, such as Ambassador Karen Pierce, who possess the geopolitical acumen, the interpersonal tact, and the negotiation expertise required to spark constructive, conciliatory talks aimed at bringing this impasse to a halt.

The Iran-US showdown has captured the world’s attention, but this is not the only issue currently threatening the international order.

The technological and tariff wars between Beijing and Washington and constant espionage activities by Chinese Intelligence targeting the US governmental apparatus have lacerated the bilateral relations between these hegemons. The situation in the South China Sea, in which China and the US have had strong disagreements due to the sea’s territorial complexities and disputes, can rapidly escalate into armed conflict.

Russia, the only country in the world with the military might capable of wiping the United States off the face of the earth, meddled in the 2016 US presidential elections and has consistently launched cyberattacks against the US national security apparatus and infrastructure. Recently, four Russian bombers and two Su-35 fighter jets entered Alaska’s Air Defense Identification Zone, generating friction between the two most powerful nuclear countries on the planet.

As the UK exits the European Union, it is vital for it to continue to exercise its role as global leader and envoy for dialogue and negotiation in the diplomatic sphere. The UK must promote security and peace talks, while drawing a red line on issues that threaten the international order.

In key platforms like the UN, the World Economic Forum, and the G7 and G20 summits, the UK must remain keen, strong, versatile and flexible. Bilaterally, the UK must focus on taking its relationship with the US to the next level by increasing interdependence, security, trade and cooperation, simultaneously filling the void that Brexit will create.

At this critical juncture, the relations between the UK and the US are as valuable as ever: for the UK, they represent a strong ally in strenuous times; for the US, they represent an indispensable link between Washington and complex, unpredictable nations like Iran, China and Russia.

The writer is a political analyst and New York University alumnus. He writes about political corruption, geopolitical issues and transnational crime. He has been published by Forbes, The National Interest, The Miami Herald, The Hill, Newsmax, The Jerusalem Post, The Epoch Times, El Día, among others.

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