UK got trapped by its "closest ally" at a time while not having a functioning government.
Indeed, in international diplomacy, weaknesses are never left unexploited for very long: the USA demonstrated this rather cynically and without much delay to that self-proclaimed 'closest aly': fearful of taking the front seat in the confrontation with Iran, it put the UK into the front seat, knowing it has nowhere near the desire, the means nor the time to properaly take care of it's international interests as it it fully being consumed by domestic infighting.
The Iranian tanker was seized in accordance with EU sanctions against Syria. Are you suggesting those sanctions should be ignored?
Contrary to the US, the EU does not apply its saction regime on an extraterritorial basis, meaning it is only applicable to EU companies globally, or to foreign companies dealing with the sanctioned country from within the EU....
In this case, the US informed both the Spanish as well as the British government of a Panamanian tanker which was about to sail in front of their coasts with Iranian oil, allegedly bound for Syria. Spain is said to have informed the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and she pointed out the fact it was not required to act given the extraterritorial situation and it would even further complicate the EU's attempt to save the nuclear deal with Iran if it intervened, so the Spanish diplomatically replied to the US they would 'monitor' and 'act if the opportunity' came...
The Brits however decided to go it all alone without informing the EU -after all, who still needs the EU now, right?- and got lured into pulling the tanker of the high sea and dragging it to their port, thus turning the whole situation into a diplomatic nightmare from which there's no more gracefull way out: that's what happens when both your current foreign secretary as well as the previous one are engaged in a bitter leadership contest over who's the best candidate to fight the EU... ROTFL
Mr. J. Bolton could hardly hide his joy on twitter for the strategic blunder he got the Brits to make when he found out what had happened!
I don’t know the in’s and outs of all this (...) See, UK is bound by domestic law to enforce trade restrictions on Syria. These are EU imposed embargoes which are directly applicable in UK law
I see, now suddenly it's going to be the fault of the EU if the UK is dragged into a diplomatic nightmare, is it?
As has been pointed out a number of times before: the EU sanctions are NOT enforceable extraterritorially, meaning they did not apply in this case, not until the UK decided to pluck the tanker off the sea and bring it to a harbour within the EU that is: now it IS a matter of the EU sanctions indeed, but only because the UK was so stupid to make it into one!
Well done: is this Global Britain at work?
That you and I don't know the in's and out's of all this, is normal: that a Foreign Office Secretary is so poorly informed to fall into the trap of giving into the request from the US to act and take the front seat in a dispute between Iran and the west, is inexcusable: was he willing to show what a good puppy he is while trying to piss of the "new Soviet Union"? Was he just daydreaming of a UK able to "rule the waves" in the Persian Gulf again? Or was he just too preoccupied with his leadership contest at home for having forgotten to think before he acted?
Whatever it was: it wasn't exactly Britain's finest hour, was it? Now the UK suddenly needs to crawl in front of the world and beg the EU to help save its face... because the US aren't going to come by and reduce the pressure of course: as all of this fits their strategy of maximum pressure.