Iran’s strong arm diplomacy at sea
The Spokesman of Iran s Guardian Council confirmed that Iran’s forceful seizure of a British oil tanker in Strait of Hormuz was the Iranian response to role played by Britain in the seizure of an Iranian supertanker two weeks earlier.
What had happened?
- An Iranian supertanker which was carrying more than 2 million barrels of Iranian crude was seized by British commandos near the territory of Gibraltar, a British overseas territory off the southern coast of Spain. It was also confirmed by British Officials in Gibraltar that the seizure which took place on July 4 happened on orders from the U.S.
- The Iranian supertanker was detained because the US authorities suspect that the ship was breaching European Union sanctions on oil shipments to Syria.
- Following this, a British-flagged ship Stena Impero which was passing through the Strait of Hormuz was seized by the Iranian military. While the British Ship has a crew of 23 crew aboard, none of them are British nationals.
Why this matters?
The seizure of the British ship took place in the Strait of Hormuz. The Strait of Hormuz is a vital strategic bottleneck as one-fifth of all global crude exports passes through the waterway from Mideast exporters to countries around the world. Any disruption of supply from the Hormuz would cause oil prices to spike and this would have a detrimental effect on the global oil prices, particularly for a country like India which imports most of the oil it needs.