Britain on Monday joined the U.S. in a maritime security mission in the Gulf to protect merchant vessels travelling through the Strait of Hormuz after Iran seized a British-flagged vessel.
British officials stressed that there was no change to London’s policy on Iran but joining the U.S. is the most significant non-Brexit foreign policy move to date of PM Boris Johnson’s 12-day-old government.
Just two weeks ago, Britain was calling for a European-led naval mission. Now, it has joined what it said was a U.S.-led “international maritime security mission”. No other nations are yet involved.
“It is vital to secure the freedom for all international shipping to navigate the Strait of Hormuz without delay, given the increased threat,” said British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace.
“The deployment of Royal Navy assets is a sign of our commitment to our U.K.-flagged vessels and we look forward to working alongside the U.S. to find a solution to the problems in the Strait of Hormuz.