As Iran Was Seizing ‘Stena Impero’ Its Missiles Were Trained on HMS Montrose

The British and the Iranian accounts of why the Royal Navy did not intervene to prevent the seizure couldn't be more different

London says it couldn’t effectively protect the tanker because it gave a too short notice (read here), but the Iranian version (below) is that the Royan Navy warship decided that discretion was the better part of valor

The US officially asked Europe, in particular the UK, France, Germany and Italy, to provide a naval force to patrol and protect ships sailing in the Straits of Hormuz, even if the command and control is handled by the Europeans and not the US.

Washington wants to drag the old continent into the front line in case of a military confrontation with Iran. It is well known that the US is behind the existing tension in the Middle East today following its unlawful unilateral withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known as the nuclear deal. However, to the dismay of the US, Europe has up to now refused to follow the US path. The US would like to see Europe more involved.

Although the Trump administration is not looking for war, despite the fact that Iran turned its missiles against the UK Royal Navy HMS Montrose and the US destroyers (when the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps confiscated the British-flag tanker Stena Impero). This is the reason that the British command chose to avoid a military confrontation and decided against a military intervention to protect the tanker.

“I order you not to intervene in my operation. The tanker is under my control. Do not put your life in danger”. This is exactly what the Iranian IRGC naval officer told the commander of the Foxtrot 236 when Iranian special forces were about to board the tanker Stena Impero. But why would he warn the British Navy “not to risk their lives”?

The British Navy’s radar sweeps had discovered active mode missiles radar tracking them by means of their semi-radar homing from different launch platforms- main radars which could easily create a saturation attack designed to put the ship in a helpless position and eventually destroy it. The Iranian missiles were ready to fire had the commander of the UK vessel decided to engage with the Iranian fast boats.

Iranian missile platform launchers spread all along the Iranian coast overlooking the Straits of Hormuz had the four US vessels and the one UK naval ship in their sights, ready to engage. Other Iranian armed drones were in the air, also ready to engage, waiting for orders to dive on their selected targets. Iran has not revealed, to date, other more sophisticated missiles that it has manufactured and could put in service in case of war.

The UK commander of the Foxtrot 236 Royal Navy decided to let go of Stena Impero and allow the diplomacy of his government to take over, to avoid the potentially serious casualties inevitable in the case of a military confrontation.

However, the British government is insisting on saving face. It therefore has to reject any exchange of tankers. The Royal Navy had already confiscated an Iranian supertanker, Grace 1, in Gibraltar. London pushed even further the conflict with Iran when the Gibraltar court extended by one additional month the arrest of the Iranian supertanker following a US request.

The only plausible solution is for the Gibraltar court to refrain from adding more fuel to the ongoing crisis and to end the detention of Grace 1, once the period of one month is reached. This will enable Iran to release Stena Impero from Bandar Abbas harbour and end the crisis.

Why did the IRGC officer order the British commander to keep away even if the HMS Montrose was within a reachable distance, along with another four US frigates, well-armed and potentially ready to engage?

When the British authority decided to extend the arrest of “Grace 1”, it basically ended the initiative of Emanuel Bonne (the French presidential envoy) to obtain the release of the Iranian super tanker. The UK’s decision to undermine its European partner’s initiative and abide by US policy showed the vulnerability of Europe’s fragile unity. London agreed to be an instrument of Trump’s policy.

This is when the Iranian Leader Sayyed Ali Khamenei ordered the commander of the IRGC Hussein Salameh to stop the first British ship and retaliate with a tit-for-tat. Following a meticulous overview of all ships navigating in the area, Salameh was informed about the Stena Impero, but also about the five western military ships in the vicinity. The IRGC commander informed Sayyed Khamenei who responded, according to a well-informed source: “Go with God’s blessing and have no fear. They will not dare to attack us”. 

This is how the decision was taken, at the highest level of the Iranian leadership where the spiritual, military and political leadership were involved under the flag of “protecting the national interest and security of the country.”

Notwithstanding the UK position, Europe will not accept the US trap and become a shield for a war Washington would like to impose on the continent. British oil companies are changing the registrations of their ships and removing the British flag so as to sail safely through the Straits of Hormuz. BP, the giant British oil company which was the first to follow this procedure, is avoiding sending ships to the region, relying instead on proxies. This is a flagrant manifestation of its lack of trust in its own government’s decision, which is not in the interests of the UK but instead reflects a servile devotion to Trump administration policy.

There is a war risk premium that tanker owners pay when navigating in the Persian Gulf. They now have to pay an additional $185,000 for supertankers, in the wake of the attacks of recent months.

The IRGC has sent many messages by shooting down a US drone, by sabotaging tankers and by capturing another. They come down to a single message: if Iran does not export its oil, no country will.

The arrival of a new UK Royal Navy ship, the HMS Duncan, will change nothing: it will add to the bank of objectives and list of Iranian targets available in the Persian Gulf in case of war. The US decision to revoke the nuclear deal not only made the Middle East less safe, but also has brought Russia further into the warm waters of the region: Iran has announced a joint naval exercise with Russia in the next months. Iran is bringing the Russians into what used to be the US’s “water playground”. Obviously, Washington’s “maximum pressure” is failing to produce the results the Americans predicted.

As long as Trump is in power, the situation in the Middle East will not stabilise. Not many people in the world believed the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo when he said the US sanctions are crippling Iran by up to 95%, and that Iran’s Middle Eastern influence is seriously affected by the US measures.

Iran is defying US hegemony and is ready for war, openly challenging the US and the UK. Tehran is welcoming Chinese and Russian support and is developing its missile capability to compensate for its lack of superiority in the sea and the air.

Iran counts on its missiles to impose its Rules of Engagement and is challenging both the US superpower and the UK with its imperial tradition.

The US is no longer in a position to dictate to Iran and “cut its nails”. Tehran is developing further its missile technology and nuclear capability. It is ready for the next step, which involves further partial withdrawal from the nuclear deal despite France and Germany’s efforts to proclaim their distance from the US attitude. The world will continue to focus on this part of the world, watching with anxiety how the US-Iran confrontation will unfold.

Source: Elijah J. Maginer

  1. Peter Five-Oh says

    Maybe the Iranians can buy some Exocet missiles from the French. We know how effective those were against the Royal Navy.

    1. Reggie Martin says


  2. TTdr says

    This is highly possible. RT had showed the Iranian force spectacular raid of the tanker video, with UK warship chasing behind but circled by Iran missile speed boats.

    Instead of waiting for its economy strangled by USNato like Venezuela, with more oil tankers seized by other nations emulating UK, Iran leaders are decisive to warn the Nato don’t ever fcuk up with Persian.

    Russia & China can’t afford to lose Iran, giving USNato complete control of ME oil. They have huge investments in Iran to justify direct military intervention.

    Iran tried to bet on France Total investing its largest oil & gas well, was plain stupid. It never learned the lesson from Iraq Saddam who also bet on France Total & Russia infrastructure.

    When US-UK attacked Iraq, France & Russia failed to keep their promise in defending Saddam.

    Today China Navy is not decades ago where West could simply invaded Libya to plunder its oil and took over China infrastructures investment. It will certainly intervene to protect its interest & ally staunchly. Just as it sent a flotilla to warn off US-India not to invade Maldives in 2017.

  3. CHUCKMAN says

    An interesting report.

    I don’t know how accurate it is. So much disinformation is thrown up on all sides in these matters.

    But I do take exception to this: “Although the Trump administration is not looking for war.”

    The “administration” is not unified in its aims. It has members pulling in different directions.

    And that is something we find historically with extreme right-wing governments. It was certainly true of even Hitler’s government.

    His senior appointees are literally figures from hell, people with such bizarre beliefs who are likely to work to trip him up as he flirts on the edge of disaster.

    John Bolton, a fanatic dedicated to destroying Iran, is said to have done this several times already, as with luring of the UK into foolishly seizing Iran’s oil tanker near Gibraltar.

    Trump’s is a nightmare government, as I fear we are all going to come to understand when it’s too late.

  4. Mary E says

    So let’s get this straight: The US is just dying to get into ‘it’ with Iran and take over its oil fields as it did in Iraq, but Iran has proven itself to be not only a strong sovereign country, but one with the internal fortitude (and missiles they aren’t afraid to use) to ward off the interlopers in the Strait of Hormuz…
    The US wants the UK (and others in the EU who are smart enough not go go along with them) to be the upfront guys in a confrontation with Iran….what a bunch of cowards…they sent their warships and fighter planes to the area, but are now afraid to use them …because Iran has those damn missiles to thwart them…and thwart them they will if the US makes a misstep!! It is actually funny to see the US put the UK out front as they cower behind them waiting for the fireworks!! Iran definitely has the upper hand!

    1. Nassim7 says

      Missiles would make unusable every runway and airport in the region within a few hours.

      How can planes impose “air superiority” when they cannot takeoff?

      As for the aircraft carriers, they are simply hostages of the Iranians. They have to be kept too far away to be of any use. The same logic applies in the neighbourhood of China.

      1. CHUCKMAN says


        In theory, yes.

        If the anti-ship missiles are credible, but that is not at all certain.

        Russia and China both have what appear to be missiles that can destroy an aircraft carrier, but even in their advanced cases, we have not seen proof positive of that capacity. Yet.

        1. Peter Five-Oh says

          Now we see how effective their drones can be, thanks to the tech from the downed US drone flown over Iran.

  5. John C Carleton says

    Problem was, the Brits did not bring along the fake queen, the real evil mean one along!

    The line of rule is thus.
    RothsRats, owner and operator of the “British Empire”.
    Fake Queen.
    Israhell is Britains, or the Ratschilds rather, military outpost in the Middle East.
    USA is a sub corporation of the evil British Empire, and the Rats military arm.

    The orders come from the Rats.
    So if you do not like whats going on, the piracy, the mass murders, the mass invasion by third world animals, the trying to start WW 3, then one needs to help with the worlds rodent control campaign!

    No Rats, no problems, no wars!

  6. James Willy says

    It would sure be nice to see these limees sitting on the bottom of the ocean now along with those other 4 or what ever was there. Why not fire on them? Then these yankz could then try a nuke on them. Then after that the homeland gets a few. Let us pray that Putin keeps his promise to bring this right to the homeland. This continent needs to be demolished. TODAY. Then we could vote *funny* on FRN at the end of the article.
    Where’s the shaw when we need him.

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