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United Kingdom and Iran confrontation in the Persian gulf as a crisis in the middle east as Great Britain versus the Iranian government as boats in shipping risk in a 3D illustration style.

Iran-Britain Tanker Standoff: 5 Geopolitical Effects You Need to Know

1. Royal Navy set to guard British ships

The Ministry of Defence has said that The Royal Navy will accompany British-flagged vessels through the Strait of Hormuz to defend freedom of navigation after Iran seized a tanker this month. The statement released stated: “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,” a British government spokesman said. “Freedom of navigation is crucial for the global trading system and world economy and we will do all we can to defend it.” This is reportedly a temporary move before discussions about the development of an international maritime protection force in the Gulf between Europe and the US. It remains to be seen how Iran will respond but signals are not positive.

2. Iran warns against naval coalition

As for the formation of a coalition between Europe and the US to protect shipping in the Gulf, Iran has clearly warned against such an action, saying the move would only bring more insecurity and higher tensions in the region. This comes after, Italy, Denmark, the Netherlands and France on Tuesday backed the UK’s proposal for a European naval force, reacting to the seizure of a British-flagged tanker in the Strait of Hormuz. The formation of a European coalition in the region could ensure the security of European and US trade ships, but will inevitably be a move that infuriates and spikes tensions with Iran.

3. Johnson expected to increase tensions with Iran

Despite the warm welcoming words of Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif upon the election of Boris Johnson as PM, congratulating him on his victory, Zarif also added that “Iran does not seek confrontation. But we have 1,500 miles of Persian Gulf coastline. These are our waters & we will protect them.” Johnson is expected by many to take a harder line on Iran than his predecessor and his recent comments have confirmed this. Johnson recently slammed UK opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn for appearing on Iranian state-owned TV and accused him of siding with regime hardliners rather than Britain’s allies over the Gulf crisis. This hostile approach seems to follow in Trump’s footsteps, an approach which has proven ineffective with Iran, only increasing the risk of conflict.

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