Earlier today, on Wednesday, July 10, 2019, a group of boats under operation by the Iranian government just outside of the Strait of Hormuz, a body of water in the Middle East bordering Iran, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman that also separates the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf, got dangerously close to an oil tanker out of the United Kingdom. The Iranian boats are said to have attempted to force the British marine vessel into waters that Iran legally controlled.
According to BBC, after the oil tanker realized what was going on, its management staff buzzed in help from the British military. Luckily for the British oil tanker, a British warship was stationed nearby the location of the incident, forcing the group of five Iranian marine military vessels away from one of its countries’ companies’ oil tankers.
Iran has been involved in several incidents off of its coast, which is shared between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, in recent months, including the sinking of an oil tanker roughly a month ago.
Iran is also responsible for bringing down a United States unmanned military drone that was allegedly – according to Iranian government officials, at least – operating within Iran’s official airspace borders, though the United States has widely disputed this fact, claiming the drone was found in the international airspace directly above the Strait of Hormez, the same place where the aforementioned altercation between the United Kingdom and Iran occurred earlier today.
The five Iranian military ships were shooed away by the United Kingdom’s HMS Montrose, located some four miles to the rear of the British oil tanker.
The United States Department of Defense’s Central Command, also known as USCENTCOM or CENTCOM for short, shared in a press release earlier today that the United States military was aware of what happened and did not support Iran’s actions.
It’s worth noting that the United States backs Saudi Arabia currently in its efforts to fight one-half of the Yemeni Civil War, which has been ongoing for five years. This is of relevance because Iran is the main financial and military backer of the other half of military forces fighting for control of Yemen, a country located on the southernmost tip of the Arabian Peninsula, right below Saudi Arabia. As such, the United States was widely expected to side with the United Kingdom in its protection of one of its economy’s oil tankers from Iranian forces.