JERUSALEM, Israel - The British House of Commons elected Boris Johnson to be the United Kingdom’s next prime minister. He comes to power in the middle of an international crisis with Iran while the Islamic Republic holds one of Britain’s ships and crew.
The standoff between Iran and the West is all part of a high stakes geopolitical standoff in the Persian Gulf that could lead to a diplomatic solution or war.
It’s expected that Johnson may take a stronger stand in its current face-off with Iran. Johnson may also favor President Donald Trump’s policy of maximum pressure on Iran instead of European efforts to appease Iran.
In the meantime, Iran released footage of Britain’s captured ship, the Stena Impero, and its crew. Iran’s foreign minister says the tanker threatened safety inside the Strait of Hormuz and added Iran wants normal relations with England and the world.
"Iran does not seek confrontation,” said Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. “Iran wants to have normal relations based on mutual respect.”
For its part, Britain says it plans to build a European coalition to safeguard shipping in the Strait of Hormuz and hopes for a diplomatic way forward.
“Our first and most important responsibility is to make sure that we get a solution to the issue to do with the current ship, make sure other British-flagged ships are safe to operate in these waters and then look at this wider picture of actually having a working proper professional relationship with Iran,” said UK Defense Minister Tobias Ellwood.
The setting for this geopolitical showdown is one of the most important in the world, the Strait of Hormuz where one-fifth of the world’s crude oil passes through each year.
Iran also announced the arrest of 17 CIA spies inside Iran. Trump says the report is false and that after Iran downed an American drone and seized Britain’s tanker and crew, negotiations are becoming less likely.
“Frankly, it's getting harder for me to want to make a deal with Iran,” said Trump.
Meanwhile, inside Iran, the US economic sanctions are affecting Iran’s economy, a situation one Iranian expert told CBN News is catastrophic.
"This year is worse than any other year as far as I can remember. The inflation and rising of prices (in the housing market) that we have experienced over the last seven-eight months is unprecedented. It is too much to put up with,” said Iranian real estate agent Ali Doosti.
Javad Mirfara, an Iranian construction materials seller, says people are struggling to make ends meet.
"The people's purchasing power has fallen by a whole lot. People are struggling to meet their basic needs, and nothing will be left for them to renovate their home or do other things. It has become worse in recent months.”
One Iranian expert told CBN News Iran is trying to wage a small war with the US and the West. The goal is to keep the war small enough to push President Trump and the West into leaving the region. They also believe Trump won’t want a war with Iran during the presidential campaign next year. The danger is they could miscalculate the situation or underestimate US resolve.