The United Kingdom’s decision to impose new sanctions on Iran is unlikely to have any significant impact on the country. The UK’s limited economic power compared to the United States means that sanctions targeting Iranian actions within the UK will not force Iran to change its behavior. Instead, these sanctions are more likely a response to Iran’s growing international cooperation and success in achieving membership in organizations such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and its pursuit of a position in the BRICS economic alliance.
The UK’s announcement of new sanctions against Iran comes on the heels of calls by UK MPs to designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization. This proposal, supported by influential think tanks, has not been pursued further due to concerns about the potential consequences and the need for support from Western allies. The UK’s failure to commit to this designation has faced criticism from within Parliament.
The UK’s approach to Iran is largely influenced by the United States, specifically the Trump administration’s hardline stance on sanctions. Despite President Joe Biden’s initial promise to rejoin the 2015 Nuclear Deal, his administration has instead continued the policy of maximum pressure on Iran. The UK and other Western allies continue to follow this lead, making baseless accusations about Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and considering terrorist group designations without concrete evidence.
The UK has also joined Ukraine, Canada, and Sweden in seeking an International Court of Justice ruling on the downing of Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 by Iran in January 2020. While this tragedy was not deliberate, Western media and governments have portrayed it as such, ignoring the context of threats from the United States and legitimate fears of incoming air attacks. Although Iran has been criticized for lack of transparency, they have sentenced individuals involved in the incident to prison.
The UK’s refusal to take responsibility for its own actions and its alignment with Washington’s agenda only exacerbate tensions with Iran. Instead of focusing on its own domestic issues, such as the cost-of-living crisis, the UK government chooses to lecture the world and engage in efforts to delegitimize Iran. These actions only serve to create backlash and demonstrate Western arrogance to nations outside of the traditional Western order.
In conclusion, the UK’s new sanctions regime against Iran is unlikely to have the desired effect. Iran’s growing international cooperation and membership in influential organizations indicate its ability to navigate around Western pressures. The UK’s alignment with the United States and its refusal to take responsibility for its own actions only further strain international relations and hinder progress towards a more multipolar world order.