UK sanctions Iran for ‘undermining peace in the Middle East’, Israel unmentioned

Israeli drone launch
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Britain on Thursday announced plans for a tougher sanctions regime against Iran. It concerns alleged human rights violations and hostile actions against its opponents on UK soil. The new sanctions regime will expand existing penalties by creating new criteria under which both individuals and entities can be hit.

They include any Iranian activities which are:

…undermining peace, stability and security in the Middle East and internationally.

But there’s a problem here. If these are the criteria, and the UK actually takes them seriously, why has Israel escaped censure or sanction?

Malign behaviour

Foreign minister James Cleverly laid out the UK’s rationale for the new regime:

The Iranian regime is oppressing its own people, exporting bloodshed in Ukraine and the Middle East, and threatening to kill and kidnap on UK soil.

He added:

Read on...

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Today the UK has sent a clear message to the regime – we will not tolerate this malign behaviour and we will hold you to account.

Our new sanctions regime will help to ensure there can be no hiding place for those who seek to do us harm.

However, if that is the case for Iran, one must ask where the sanctions for Israel are – given the colonial statelet and UK ally has spent the last weeks and months launching raid after murderous raid on Jenin in the West Bank.

This isn’t the first time in recent weeks a double standard has emerged. Recently the UN blasted Russia for crimes against children in war but fell short of censuring Israel in a similar way

All-out Israeli assault

Israel’s assaults have involved everything from bulldozers to Apache helicopters. As of 1pm on 7 July, Israeli forces had killed 15 Palestinians and ordered many others to leave their homes with a few hours’ notice.

As the Canary’s Tom Anderson has reported:

As well as military bulldozers, the Israeli military has used armed drones in its attack on Jenin.

Israel has deeply embedded drones into its warfighting methodology. However, their use in Jenin marks a brutal shift:

Drone strikes have been a regular Israeli tactic in the besieged Gaza Strip since the late 2000s. However, the Israeli military has predominantly only used them for surveillance in the West Bank. The Israeli army has reportedly not carried out a drone strike in the West Bank since 2006.

Another escalation is the use of Apache helicopters in the latest rounds of Israel attacks:

The use of heavy weaponry in general in the West Bank has been steadily increasing. Israeli pilots used Apache helicopters to fire missiles during the last full-scale raid on Jenin in June. It was the first time missiles had been fired from Apaches in the West Bank in 20 years.

Double standards on Iran

There are many actors who destabilise the Middle East. And there are many ways in which these actors are undermining the region, not least Iran’s brutal crackdown on protesters earlier this year. But chief among them is the interference of particular states, so in a narrow sense Cleverly is correct. But we must apply that standard evenly. And if it is to be, it must include the UK and the US – as well as its allies in the Gulf States and Israel.

Additional reporting by Agence-France Presse.

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons/Zev Marmorstein, cropped to 1910 x 1000, licenced under CC BY-SA 30.

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  • Show Comments
    1. No supprise there then turnning a blind eye to the biggest terrorists in the middle east. This is why the uk need a govement that will bring sanctions against Israel and ban its lobby groups in the UK

      1. Yes, we can vote a Labour government into power next year because Sir Keir Rodney Starmer KCB KC is an ardent supporter of Palestinian rights… (sigh) So how does this democracy thing work in Britain, exactly?

    2. You mean like how when American politicians screamed blue murder about “Sovrinty of Yukrane!”, but totes just happened to forget Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, Mali, Palestine, Haiti, and so many, many more?

      Yeah, funny that.

      Still, at least we’re not “ruled” by “anti-semites”. That would be awful.

    3. ” And there are many ways in which these actors are undermining the region, not least Iran’s brutal crackdown on protesters earlier this year. ”

      Perhaps we should be asking who was behind those protests. For example

      “20 foreign intelligence agencies involved in Iran riots

      “Among the countries that have been active in these areas are the United States, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, France, Germany, Canada, Belgium, Austria, Albania, Australia, Iceland, Italy, Kosovo, Norway, Bahrain, New Zealand, as well as the occupying Zionist regime,”

      Also :

      “The CIA supported the creation of cyberspace platforms for disseminating news of the riots as well as to facilitate efforts to send technical equipment, and escape tools, and lifting restrictions on mobile communication devices.
      The CIA pitched the idea of forming a joint team with the Israeli Mossad and the British MI6 to target Iranian scientists. ”

      And : “Iranian border guards detain ship with 5,000 US-made cold weapons

      Iranian border guards detained a ship in southern Iran loaded with around 5,000 edged weapons made by the United States, the commander of the Border Guards of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ahmad Ali Goudarzi, said on Tuesday.

      “A ship with more than 5,000 machetes and daggers was found in Bushehr province, the weapons were made in the United States,” Goudarzi said, as quoted by Iranian news agency Tasnim.”

      And on the subject of that “brutal crackdown” on protestors, here’s something that wasn’t reported in any western media I’ve seen :

      “Iran pardons, commutes sentences of large number of convicted rioters

      On Sunday, Iran’s leader Sayyed Ali Khamenei approved the request of Judiciary Chief Gholam Hossein Mohseini to pardon or commute the sentences of inmates who were convicted during the recent riots.

      This verdict of clemency was issued in commemoration of the anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution and the birth anniversary of Imam Ali.

      However, not all prisoners are eligible for clemency, such as those convicted of armed assaults on governmental sites, armed or organized drug trafficking, rape, armed robbery, smuggling of weapons, kidnapping, bribery, and embezzlement.”

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