British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced on Monday that his nation’s response to the capture of an oil tanker is that they will seek to form a multi-national naval force to ensure freedom of navigation in the Persian Gulf.
If that sounds familiar, it’s because this is the same anti-Iran proposal the US has been pushing all month, except while the US envisioned US officials controlling the fleet, Britain says it will be a European-led fleet.
While Hunt said he had spoken to several FMs about the plan, he did not indicate if the plan had found any takers. The very similar US plan, after all, has been consistently rejected, as most nations see no threat to their own ships, and don’t want to get sucked into other nations’ escalation against Iran.
Britain may hope that it’s current status as an EU member nation will open more doors for them in launching such a program, but since they’re one foot out the door of the EU, it’s not clear how much sway they will retain on that account.
Britain’s tit-for-tat tanker seizures with Iran are likely to be seen as Britain’s problem more than the rest of the world’s problem, and other nations are probably noting that their tankers seem to remain untouched as it is, and that they don’t need a naval escort.