Officials have confirmed a story that the British government wish would have remained confidential. Earlier this month, in an escalating crisis between Iran and western countries, the British Army had to stop Iran from blocking a BP oil tanker.
The tanker, called “British Heritage” can carry up to a million barrels of oil and was navigating through the Strait of Hormuz, one of the world’s most influential shipping checkpoint.
This incident has worsened relations between Iran and the United Kingdom, while the country has been preventing the Islamic Republic from developing a nuclear weapon since 2015.
A relation in hot water
Iran and the United Kingdom just had another episode in their escalating crisis that started in 2015.
On July 11th, the Royal Navy’s HMS Montrose had to intervene to escort after the “British Heritage” tanker from British Petroleum (BP) “was forced to position herself between the Iranian vessels and British Heritage and issue verbal warnings to the Iranian vessels, which then turned away.”, as Bloomberg reported.
UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt says "We're not looking at military options" in the Iran tanker situation pic.twitter.com/gOKqrb2Hy9
— Bloomberg Quicktake (@Quicktake) July 19, 2019
The BP tanker, that can carry up to a million barrels, was navigating to go through the Strait of Hormuz in order to sail along the Omani coast.
The United Kingdom published a statement and affirmed that: “we are concerned by this action and continue to urge the Iranian authorities to de-escalate the situation in the region“.
A downer for the nuclear deal
On the other end an official announcement from the Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps stated that Iran did not try to stop the tanker but could do so in case it has to.
Fars News Agency, the official press organ of the regime, published a press released where the Iranian Regime said: “If it receives an order to seize foreign ships, naval forces can act fast, with determination and without hesitation within the geographic scope of its mission.”.
As experts agree, this incident might be a new downer while the United Kingdom was trying to push for Iran to maintain the nuclear deal.
While pro-Brexit Boris Johnson just became Prime Minister this week, it is highly likely that the United Kingdom will have to solely rely on the White House to guarantee good diplomatic relations with Iran.
Read more on Alvexo: “Trump Threatens Iran on its Uranium Enrichment”
UK will escort tankers from now on
Yesterday, the British Ministry of Defense declared that the “Royal Navy has been tasked to accompany British-flagged ships through the Strait of Hormuz, either individually or in groups, should sufficient notice be given of their passage.”
As for the British Department of Transport, it confirmed today that commercial ships “should not sail through the area”. This incident happened only two weeks only after the United Kingdom and Gibraltar seized the Iran-flagged tanker Grace 1.