The Iranian government has frequently broken its promises and in the latest fiasco, Tehran has violated its written assurances that an Iranian tanker seized by British authorities off Gibraltar this summer would not transport oil to Syria. This raises the question of why European leaders continue to take Iran at its word.
In a September 10th editorial opinion piece, the New York Post criticised Europe and the Western world’s continued trust in Iran. According to the Post, Europe must learn two lessons: the first is that Iran cannot be trusted, the second is that Europe's favoured policy of appeasing Iran is both weak and futile.
In July, British Royal Marines stopped an Iranian oil tanker, Grace One, which was openly heading to Syria in violation of EU sanctions imposed on the Syrian government because of the long civil war.
The tanker was released on August 15th after Iran offered written assurances it would not go to Syria with its two million barrels of oil.
The United States then tried to seize the tanker but no Mediterranean country offered help as Turkey was the ship’s declared destination.
The ship, renamed Adrian Darya One, was photographed by satellite on September 6th and it appeared to be very near the Syrian port of Tartus. Iran says it has now sold its cargo.
Meanwhile, British oil tanker Stena Impero is still in Iranian custody, although this week several crew members were released.
British Foreign Secretary Dominique Raab has summoned the Iranian ambassador for talks.