The PJ Tatler

Standoff in Suez

Debka is reporting five US vessels are blocking the Iranian warships headed through Suez. Standoff? The Telegraph’s Con Coughlin adds:

It is 32 years since an Iranian warship last passed through the Suez Canal, so it can hardly be coincidence that Tehran is now attempting to send two naval vessels through this vital trade artery at a time when the whole region is convulsed by political instability.

The main reason, of course, that Iran has been denied easy access to the Mediterranean these past three decades is that so long as Hosni Mubarak was in charge of Egypt, there was no way the Egyptian defence ministry would provide the necessary approval. As a staunch ally of both America and Israel, Mr Mubarak could be counted on to keep the meddlesome Iranians at bay.

But now that Barack Obama has decided to dispense with Mr Mubarak’s services, he has unwittingly opened up a whole new ball game.