Why DID we seize Iran's tanker in the first place, asks historian MICHAEL BURLEIGH 

Mail Online | 7/20/2019 | Michael Burleigh for The Mail on Sunday
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At its narrowest point, the Strait of Hormuz is just 21 miles wide – a thin, U-shaped stretch of water allowing access to the Persian Gulf, but which almost seals it off completely from the wider world.

A fifth of all global oil and a third of the world’s liquefied natural gas passes through the strait. And it is amid these busy shipping lanes that the potentially disastrous conflict between Iran and the United States is playing out. Now Britain has been dragged in, too.

Friday - Iranians - Ship - Stena - Impero

On Friday, the Iranians seized a British-flagged Swedish-owned ship, the Stena Impero, diverting it to their own waters on the eastern side of the channel. The circumstances are murky. The Iranians claim the Stena Impero had been using the wrong lane in its journey to Saudi Arabia.

The ship’s location remains unknown and the crew have disappeared. The dangers presented by this latest episode are all too clear, however: they are another step on the road to a crippling world recession if not a catastrophic military confrontation.

Crisis - Gulf - Result - President - Trump

The crisis in the Gulf is almost entirely the result of President Trump’s decision to sabotage the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran – a major achievement not just of his predecessor President Obama but five major powers, including the UK, which were fellow signatories. Trump withdrew even though Iran had scrupulously observed the letter of that accord.

In fact, according to leaked cables from Britain’s former Ambassador to Washington Sir Kim Darroch – reported in this newspaper – Trump pulled out largely to spite Obama.

Result - America - Sanctions - Iran - Banking

The result is that America has re-imposed stringent sanctions on Iran, cutting it out of a banking system dominated by the dollar and making it almost impossible for Iran to sell its oil. Exports have collapsed from three million barrels a day to about 400,000, plunging the nation into...
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