Issue Brief on “Escalating Tensions in Hormuz: Current Situation and Future Risks”


Middle East is home to one of the most strategic water ways – the Persian Gulf. Quite recently, tensions in the region have mounted, following deployment of troops to the region by US, and Iran’s seizure of three  flagships; Panama flagship, MT Riah on July 14, 2019, British flagged-ship Stena Impero on July 19, 2019 and a  British-owned Liberian-flagged tanker Mesdar on July 19, 2019 (released later on), attracting the attention of regional and international powers.[1] Iran, at odds with the US, UK, and Saudi Arabia demonstrated its resolve to blockade the Strait of Hormuz, halting the global oil trade and thereby, impairing global economy.

Tensions between US and Iran escalated in July 2019, when Iran threatened to choke the Strait of Hormuz, a key strategic waterway of the Persian Gulf. On July 04, 2019, UK seized an Iranian flagged oil tanker, Grace 1, in Gibraltar, claiming that the carrier was bound to Syria which was sanctioned by the EU.[2] In Tehran, the seizure of Iranian vessel was perceived to be an anti-Iran move, aiming to gratify Trump. It is speculated that UK impounded the Iranian vessel upon the instructions of Trump, since America is trying to limit the oil exports as part of their strategy to reopen talks on the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).[3]

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