What happens next?
The Royal Navy destroyer HMS Duncan has arrived in the Persian Gulf, temporarily doubling the number of British warships in the Persian Gulf following repeated Iranian attacks on British ships.
The brief increase in British warships in the region, from one to two, underscores just how few ships the Royal Navy can deploy even in an emergency. More help likely won’t be coming.
Duncan, a Type 45 destroyer, on July 28, 2019 joined the frigate HMS Montrose escorting vessels sailing under the British flag through the Strait of Hormuz. Naval escorts are an effective way of deterring the kinds of attacks that frequently have occurred in the summer of 2019.
On July 19, 2019 Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps militia forces seized the British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero in the Strait of Hormuz, escalating a long-simmering conflict that began after U.S. president Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the 2015 deal that lifted sanctions on Iran in exchange for limits on Iran’s nuclear program.
After Trump restored economic sanctions, Tehran resumed stockpiling uranium. Iran and the West soon began tussling over Persian Gulf shipping.
Royal Marines in early July 2019 seized an oil tanker en route to Syria that British authorities suspected of breaching E.U. sanctions. Authorities told the BBC the ship could be carrying Iranian crude oil to the Baniyas refinery in Syria.