Iran, UK appear to seek de-escalation despite tanker seizure

By | July 20, 2019

The Associated Press reports:

Iran and Britain appeared to signal Saturday that they are not seeking confrontation, a day after Iran seized a British-flagged tanker in the strategic Strait of Hormuz, a flashpoint in rising tensions between Tehran and the West.

Iran’s state news agency said it had seized the Stena Impero for an investigation after it had collided with an Iranian fishing boat — an explanation that avoided portraying the incident as a tit-for-tat move in the current tense climate.

In London, Tom Tugendhat, the chairman of Britain’s House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, said military action to free the tanker would be “extremely unwise,” especially because the vessel was apparently taken to a well-protected port.

Tensions between Iran and the West had been rising since May, when the U.S. announced it was dispatching an aircraft carrier and additional troops to the Middle East, citing unspecified threats posed by Iran.

The ongoing showdown has caused jitters around the globe, with each maneuver bringing fear that any misunderstanding or misstep by either side could lead to war.

The seizing of the tanker late Friday was seen as a significant escalation. [Continue reading…]

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