(Persia Digest) – A Middle East expert in Iran believes: “Netanyahu’s comments on taking action against Iranian oil tankers to prevent them from circumventing sanctions is more for internal use with the approaching Parliamentary elections in Israel and this is not possible according to International law.”

A few days ago, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Iran was smuggling oil to circumvent the sanctions; therefore, it was the duty of the Israeli navy to take action against them.”

It seems Israel has adopted an aggressive approach towards Iran in recent months. In addition to carrying out strikes against Iranian forces in Syria, it is now trying to stop Iran from circumventing the US imposed sanctions. Is Israel defining a new role for itself as the regional gendarme?

Dr Rahman Ghahremanpour, analyst of international affairs in Tehran, told Persia Digest (PD): “For a number of reasons, Israel cannot become the regional gendarme or adopt a similar role in the area. There is no such thing in its national security strategy. Israel has a problem with Iran’s nuclear technology while it is also approaching its Parliamentary elections.”

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He added: “Netanyahu has always won the elections in the past by creating great fears. This has always been either about Palestinian groups and engagements with them or conflict with Iran. With regard to his difficult position inside the country and the Supreme Court accusation of bribery against him, he is trying to blow up the threat of Iran to work his way through his difficulties and remain Prime Minister.”

Speaking about Israel blocking Iranian tankers, the university professor continued: “Blocking a country’s tankers can be carried out only with UN Security Council permission if it is proved that the cargo is illegal. But currently, the sanctions against Iran are unilaterally imposed by the US and these are not related to the UN. Therefore, blocking them in any way is against the UN Charter, international law, and international conventions. As such, Netanyahu’s comments are not enforceable.”

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Ghahremanpour underlined: “The Israeli PM is spreading his propaganda against the IR of Iran based on Trump’s anti-Iran policies and concerns by China, Russia, and Europe to uphold the JCPOA deal. Of course, under the circumstances, Israel’s internal politics will also be affected.”

Regarding Netanyahu’s current take on Iran’s power in making such statements, he reiterated: “Phenomena such as weakness or strength are relative. A country may be in a good position in terms of power; but the same position can be interpreted as a weakness by its rivals. Nevertheless, most analysts agree that the position of non-Arab states in the Middle East, such as Iran and Turkey, improved following the Arab Spring in 2011. From their point of view, Arab powers weakened as a result of these uprisings. Based on this, contrary to comments made by people such as Trump, the facts are that Iran is not in a position of weakness in the region.”

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