Armed Iranian boats unsuccessfully attempted to seize a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz Wednesday, according to U.S. officials.
What We Know:
- As the boats—believed to belong to Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC)—tried to impede the British Heritage tanker, the British warship, HMS Montrose, intercepted and threatened to open fire. The vessel reportedly trained its 30mm deck guns and successfully warded the Iranian boats off.
- Tensions between Iran and Britain have become exceedingly strained after Britain claimed the Iranian regime was responsible for the attack on two oil tankers in June. Last week, British Royal Marines helped the authorities in Gibraltar seize an Iranian tanker due to evidence it was carrying oil to Syria, violating EU sanctions, according to BBC News.
- Prime Minister Theresa May’s official spokesman said the government was “committed to maintaining freedom of navigation in accordance with international law”.
- Navy Captain Bill Urban, the spokesman for the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), claimed the military knew about the reported actions. “Threats to international freedom of navigation require an international solution. The world economy depends on the free flow of commerce, and it is incumbent on all nations to protect and preserve this lynchpin of global prosperity,” Urban told Fox News.
Last month, Iran shot down a U.S. drone over the Strait of Hormuz, where oil exporters transport approximately 22 million barrels of oil per day. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has accused Iran of disrupting the flow of oil in the area.