Seizing an Iranian oil tanker was reckless, and now we’re paying for our actions

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Saturday 20 July 2019 13:46
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Hunt warns of 'serious consequences' after tanker seized in Gulf

To seize an Iranian oil tanker, however legally justified the seizure might be, and not take the most stringent precautions against the inevitable Iranian retaliation, is reckless.

Given Britain’s track record over the last two decades of weakness in the face of our opponents, how can the prime minister, the cabinet and senior civil servants think that this confrontation can end with anything less than a humiliating British climbdown?

Vladimir Putin would not have attempted to murder the Skripals with the binary nerve gas novichok if he had perceived strength in our leaders. Similarly, the Iranians already know from the Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe affair that Britain is a paper tiger.

The tanker seizures may yet end without bloodshed. Not so the disastrous intervention in Libya under our previous prime minister. After the chaos that ensued in Iraq on the fall of Saddam Hussain, nobody could think that overthrowing a long-established Arab dictator in an ethnically and tribally divided country could end in any other way.

Until British prime ministers, cabinets and senior civil servants free themselves from their delusional moralistic consequence-ignoring mindset, we are doomed to repeated national humiliation.

Otto Inglis
Edinburgh

As the Royal Navy is humiliated by Iran I note we have just 19 warships, half of which are unfit for sea or have insufficient crew, yet a staggering 34 admirals – almost two for every ship. How has the MoD and government allowed this shameful disgrace to happen?

John Wright
Northampton

What the hell did our Ministry of Aggression think would happen after we captured an Iranian oil tanker?

Tony Baker
Thirsk

Good can be done on this planet

I was appalled to read of the three billionaire fantasists Branson, Bezos and Musk planning to waste their billions on trips to rocks in the sky.

Their wealth could be used to better life on this planet. One project they could combine their efforts on would be to provide fresh, clean drinking water to all people who, at present, have to rely on polluted rivers, wells and water holes for their essential drinking water.

I am sure there are other projects that you and your readers can propose.

Michael Pate
Preston

No going back

As a schoolboy growing up in a country other than that in which I was born, I was regularly told to “go home”. The country was Scotland and I am English. My father’s answer, when his accent was overheard in a bar in Leith, was “I’d love to go home, but the roads would be blocked by all the Scots coming back to Scotland”.

Richard Charnley​
Ripon

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A terrible irony

What would be the odds on Donald Johnson imploring us “to make Britain great again”, just as the UK begins to break up in consequence of his actions?

Michael Rosenthal
Banbury

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