While Robert Mueller was putting us all to sleep last week and Democrats played another round of “Name that Racist” with the president, tensions in the Straits of Hormuz skyrocketed as Great Britain sent another warship into the Gulf to escort tankers being threatened by Iran.
Great Britain seized an Iranian tanker earlier this month that was suspected of violating EU oil sanctions against Iran. Iran, being Iran, seized a British tanker in retaliation. Iran says the British tanker had collided with a fishing boat and failed to stop. The Swedish owners of the ship say that’s a bunch of malarkey. Whom do you believe?
The UK began to escort tankers through the straits using warships and Iran says that the UK must stop committing “economic terrorism” against Iran. Now France and Germany are angry, accusing London of adopting a “maximum pressure” policy on Iran, which apparently is interfering with Berlin and Paris’s efforts to maintain the nuclear agreement they helped negotiate in 2015.
Meanwhile, President Rouhani of Iran piously proclaimed his desire for a closer relationship with London.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has penned an open letter to Britain’s new prime minister Boris Johnson saying he hopes the countries’ diplomatic ties will be stronger under Boris Johnson’s leadership.
In the letter published Sunday on Rouhani’s website, the Iranian president congratulated Johnson on becoming prime minister.
Rouhani said he hoped Johnson’s “only one visit to Tehran” while serving as U.K. foreign secretary in 2017 and now his tenure as prime minister lead to a “further deepening of bilateral and multilateral relations.”
These tactics by Iran are old hat by now. They gin up a crisis, bring the world to the brink, then pull back and innocently proclaim their desire for peace.
Rather than back down, Prime Minister Johnson has sent another warship into the Gulf.
A Royal Navy warship has arrived in the Persian Gulf to accompany British-flagged ships passing through the Strait of Hormuz, amid tensions after Iran seized a British tanker this month.
Britain’s Ministry of Defense said Sunday that the HMS Duncan will join the Frigate HMS Montrose in the Gulf to defend freedom of navigation.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the Royal Navy will escort U.K. vessels until a diplomatic resolution is found to secure the route again.
Many observers of the UK were wondering how Johnson would respond to this provocation. He may not totally subscribe to Trump’s Iran policy of maximum pressure, but sending warships to escort tankers sends a clear message that Great Britain won’t stand for any more “state piracy” from Tehran.