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One week since British tanker seized by Iran, Boris Johnson considers joint patrols


One week since British tanker seized by Iran, Boris Johnson considers joint patrols

iran uk tanker
Photo: Jan Verhoog/Marine

Today marks exactly one week since the British-flagged ship Stena Impero was seized in the Strait of Hormuz by the Iranian navy in retaliation for a British seizure of an Iranian-flagged vessel in Gibraltar.

Since the Stena Impero’s seizure, Boris Johnson has assumed office as Britain’s new Prime Minister, while Jeremy Hunt has left the foreign secretary role. Mr Hunt had called for an European-led naval shipping mission to ensure safe passage of crews and cargo in the Strait of Hormuz.

Britain has yet to settle on a response since Johnson’s move to 10 Downing Street, though military escalation is not something that Britain or Iran seeks. The chances of conflict could increase however, even if neither side wants war, due to miscalculation.

On 24 July, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani hinted at the possibility of an oil tanker swap. Iran acting as the first mover on the de-escalation front would give them considerable favour in public perception.

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It is yet to be seen how new PM Johnson will use his relationship with President Trump to clarify what his endgame with Iran is: its total nuclear containment and/or to diminish Iran’s regional power. European states of all inclinations do not want a major war on their doorstep, for fear of refugee spillovers.

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