On July 20th, the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) released a video showing how the UK-flag tanker Stena Impero was captured.
Following that, British media began to stir hysteria, that actually the British tanker was steered towards Iranian waters to be captured by false GPS coordinates sent by “Russian spy technology.”
This was reported by the Sunday Mirror, which citing anonymous security sources aid that the GCHQ and MI6 were investigating whether Iranian intelligence transmitted spoof signals to the skipper of the Stena Impero.
According to reports, a Royal Navy warship attempted to assist the tanker, but it arrived “10 minutes too late,” to do what exactly in Iranian territorial waters is unclear.
“The tanker was still in Omani waters when the orders were sent, but by the time HMS Montrose arrived the Impero had been redirected into Iranian waters.”
How that happened, when according to initial reports there was no distress signal and the Stena Impero’s tracker was turned off.
Anonymous security sources said that Iranian drones may have tampered with GPS signals.
They told the Sunday Mirror that investigators will look into whether there is a technological footprint – and whether western spy planes in the area picked up any suspicious signals.
An unnamed Western security source said:
“Russia has the technology to spoof GPS and may have helped Iran in this venture as it was extremely brazen. It would make British shipping extremely vulnerable and will be of grave concern to Royal Navy warships in the region.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Russian intelligence have worked very closely in Syria, protecting and promoting their interests.”
Of course, Russia’s involvement can’t happen without “evil overlord” Russian President Vladimir Putin’s approval. And the “evidence” that such a meddling may have taken place is that MI6 and other Western intelligence agencies have discovered that Russia has the technology to fool ships into false location recordings.
This relates to an earlier report which found out that wherever Putin goes, GPS stops working.
So, it could potentially “make sense” (surprisingly how UK media haven’t come up with that yet) that Vladimir Putin was on some private cruise vacation in the Persian Gulf and that’s why the Stena Impero moved into Iranian waters.
“British commanders are surprised by the brazen and confident nature of the seizure, which adds weight to the possibility of GPS interference.”
The former head of the Royal Navy, Admiral Lord West, demanded convoys be deployed to support ships travelling through the Gulf to prevent Iran seizing more vessels.
“If Iranian ships try to attack them you sink them. They are the ones who have escalated things by attacking one of our merchant ships.”
This came after the UK seized an Iranian tanker which was accused of transporting oil to Syria, despite it being prohibited. No evidence was provided.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt insisted the vessel was seized in Omani waters – in “clear contravention of international law”.
After a COBRA briefing Hunt said the incident “raises very serious questions about the security of British shipping and indeed international shipping in the Strait of Hormuz.”
Hunt said MPs would be updated about what “further measures” the Government will take on July 22nd. He said:
“Our priority continues to be to find a way to de-escalate the situation. We need that ship released and we continue to be very concerned about the safety and welfare of the 23 crew.”
Initially Iran reported that the Stena Impero didn’t answer any communications attempts and collided with a fishing boat.
Then, a spokesman for Iran’s Guardian Council was quoted as saying “the rule of reciprocal action is well known in international law” and that Tehran made the right decision in the face of an “illegitimate economic war and seizure of oil tankers.”
Of course, UK media said that Britain seeks a diplomatic solution, but despite that Iran could strike allied targets in Iraq or Syria, which there is also no substantiation for.
Separately, purely for defensive purposes, the Sun reported that the UK may sent a Royal Navy nuclear submarine to the Persian Gulf.
Following the above mentioned Cobra meetings, the British Astute-class nuclear-powered submarine, believed to be at sea already, is expected to head to the region within days.
It will listen to Iranian communications before passing information back to UK operational HQ at Northwood, in North West London.
Military chiefs chose it because of the danger posed by Iranian Yono-class “midget submarines”. Retired naval Commander Tom Sharpe said:
“The Yono midget submarine is a particular menace. Often lurking just below the surface, they are armed with a couple of heavyweight torpedoes. These will kill a frigate and possibly even a carrier. There are always a couple at sea and they are hard to track and even harder to defeat.”
It is likely that the UK will impose sanctions on Iran on July 22nd, but there is yet little conclusive information about what they would be. According to Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, the UK does not wish for war.
Currently Britain has one warship in the Persian Gulf the HMS Montrose, the HMS Duncan is en route and HMS Kent is expected to sail there “in a few weeks.”
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Iranian Sources Reveal Type Of Drone Used To Film U.S. Warships In Strait Of Hormuz
- A Week Of Provocations: New Drone And Tanker Incidents In Persian Gulf
- Iran Seizes 2 British Tankers In Strait of Hormuz (Updated)