Britain’s HMS Duncan dispatched to Persian Gulf amid tensions with Iran

Britain’s HMS Duncan, a Type 45 Destroyer warship, is expected to arrive at the UK’s Naval Support Facility in Bahrain

hms duncan gulf

Photo: LPhot Paul Hall

Britain’s HMS Duncan, a Type 45 Destroyer warship, is expected to arrive at the UK’s Naval Support Facility in Bahrain today.

The Duncan will be accompanied by the frigate HMS Montrose and will escort all British-flagged vessels traveling through the Strait of Hormuz. The move comes after Iran’s seizure of the Stena Impero oil tanker earlier this month.

The situation in the Gulf is becoming increasingly murky. London has been lobbying its European allies, especially Germany and France, to take part in a joint naval mission that would seek to ensure freedom of navigation throughout the Gulf. A similar plan has been proposed by the US, dubbed Operation Sentinel. The Europeans have balked at joining the US for fear of being directly involved in its “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran and potentially derailing the 2015 nuclear agreement.

Further complicating the situation is uncertainty over the Boris Johnson administration’s plans regarding the Gulf. So far Mr Johnson has vowed that the UK will not participate in Washington’s maximum pressure campaign but also has suggested that any UK naval mission would need US support.

Division and uncertainty plays into Iran’s hands. Tehran may well believe its actions in the Gulf are driving a wedge between western allies, further motivating it to continue disrupting oil shipments.

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