The UK called for a European-led mission to secure shipping in the Strait of Hormuz on Monday, July 22, after Iranian forces seized two British-operated oil tankers in the vital shipping route on Friday, July 19. One tanker, Mesdar, was released after receiving a warning from Iranian authorities. The Stena Impero remained detained at the Bandar Abbas port as of Monday; UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has insisted that the ship's capture and detention amount to "state piracy" in violation of international law.
The move has escalated already-high tensions between Iran and Western countries following a series of incidents, beginning with the US's imposition of sanctions on Iranian oil exports in May, that have economically hampered Iran and raised chances of open armed conflict between Iran and the US. The continued detainment of the Stena Impero by Iranian forces and the maintenance of US sanctions on Iranian oil exports may further raise tensions between Iran and Western countries over the coming weeks.
Tensions between Iran and the West have escalated in recent months. A detailed timeline of recent, related events is available here.
Individuals are advised to prepare travel plans to the Persian Gulf region with consideration to the abovementioned geopolitical tensions and follow instructions issued by their home governments.
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