Author Topic: UK claims right to violate Iran waters  (Read 2141 times)


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UK claims right to violate Iran waters
« on: January 24, 2012, 06:28:03 PM »
UK claims right to violate Iran waters
Press TV
Tue Jan 24, 2012 1:17AM GMT
Britain has suggested its warships are entitled to violate Iranian territorial waters in the Strait of Hormuz at any time in an open defiance of the international law.

After Britain's HMS Argyll, joined with a flotilla of US and French vessels, crossed the strategic waterway on Sunday, a British Defense Ministry spokesman said the ships had the 'right' to cross the passage under the international law.

"HMS Argyll and a French vessel joined a US carrier group transiting through the Strait of Hormuz, to underline the unwavering international commitment to maintaining rights of passage under international law," the spokesman said.

This comes as the waters in the Strait of Hormuz, which is the world's most important oil transit artery, fall within the territorial waters of Iran and Oman and any vessel seeking to access the Persian Gulf should pass through Iranian waters to the west of the strait.

While vessels can use Omani waters to sail when in the east of the strait, some 92 kilometers westward and into the Persian Gulf, shipping lanes run directly through Iranian territorial waters off the Iranian islands of the Greater Tunb, the Lesser Tunb, and Abu Musa.

Moreover, the only access route for larger ships including aircraft carriers is passing between the Tunb islands and Abu Musa.

Under the very international law Britain misuses as reference, the waters inside a roughly 22 kilometer limit from a country's coastline are considered an extension of that nation and its territory.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) rules that if there are islands lying off a nation's coast then the 22 kilometers extend “from the outermost island” - in this case Abu Musa.

To put it in a nutshell, as Abu Musa is located deep into the Persian Gulf, Iranian territorial waters extend to 40 kilometers off the United Arab Emirates, effectively covering the entire sailable area to the west of the Strait of Hormuz.

Therefore all ships crossing the strategic waterway can only use the right of “innocent passage” to pass Iranian waters in the strait, a right that means they can pass as long as they do not pose a threat to the coastal state or cause aggravation with warships specifically required to minimize their military profile to gain a passage permit.

British officials seem to have turned a blind eye to the whole bulk of the presented details, which are widely available on the web, to surprisingly claim they have a right to enter Iranian waters without Tehran's consent.