posted on Apr, 7 2007 @ 09:55 AM
I have read many posts about the UN backed Coalition and Iran’s actions within territorial waters. There is a “United Nations Convention on the
Law of the Sea” that should be followed. This makes things very clear and I want to let everyone know about one certain part that covers the
released British Sailors and Marines. Before I start I have to point out that Iran has signed but not ratified this.
“Out to 12 nautical miles from the baseline, the coastal state is free to set laws, regulate any use, and use any resource. Vessels were given the
right of "innocent passage" through any territorial waters, with strategic straits allowing the passage of military craft as "transit passage", in
that naval vessels are allowed to maintain postures that would be illegal in territorial waters. "Innocent Passage" is defined by the convention as
passing through waters in expeditious and continuous manner, which is not “prejudicial to the peace, good order or the security” of the coastal
state. Fishing, polluting, weapons practice, spying are not “innocent.” Nations can also temporarily suspend innocent passage in specific areas of
their territorial seas, if doing so is essential for the protection of its security.”
We have to make some points clear. The UN patrols would fall under “Innocent Passage” not “Transit Passage” since they are not operating in a
strategic straight. They are there to provide security for the coastal states and are not there to spy, pollute, fish, or weapons practice. No country
other then Iran has had an issue with the UN patrols. I say that since Iran captured them while they were passing through territorial waters. Whose
waters is a question that many have argued about, but according to the UN Convention it wouldn’t matter since they were not doing illegal activity
and were maintaining good order and security of the coastal states.
This brings up the intelligence collecting that was mentioned. Collecting Intel and spying are two separate operations, so there is no argument over
what the British were doing while they were out patrolling under UN Security Council resolution 1723. Intel collecting is part of providing a good
security net. If you can prevent illegal acts against the states you are protecting you are doing your job. If the British were sent out there to spy
why would they waste their time searching cargo vessels? Would that be a cover for them? There is no proof to back up that claim so why would anyone
So this brings us to figuring out why Iran captured these UN personnel when they were performing a routine UN security operation. Iran understood what
the British were doing, Iran was not under any threat from them, the British were not acting illegally, so why did this happen? This isn’t the first
time either, so why is Iran acting in this way? The UN SCR 1723 lists what the goals are of these operations and Iran can only gain from them, so why
are they acting so foolishly? Are they upset with the UN’s reaction to their nuclear research? It looks like an easy way to say we can strike back
if you keep pushing your resolutions on us.
I just wanted everyone to know the facts about maritime law. Iran should have let the British personnel continue with their operations that are 100%
legal. To dissolve what some are saying was an illegal entry into Iran’s territorial waters, the British security teams are allowed to go into
Iran’s territorial waters since they are not prejudicial to the peace, good order or the security” of the coastal state. Continuous operations
into Iran’s waters are legal according to the UN Convention as long as they are legal and not endangering Iran’s security.
Either way Iran screwed up. Knowing the law is what matters and it wasn’t followed in this case. There is no evidence that the British were acting
illegally, they were acting under a UN Security Council Resolution, and they are protected by a UN Maritime Law. I hope everyone can learn something
from what happened. These are the facts and hopefully everyone can understand that the actions of Iran lowered the security of the region since they
removed an operational team that was there to protect the local coastal states.