Both Jeremy Hunt and Philip Hammond confirmed Theresa May’s Government would explore any diplomatic solution to avoid a clash between London and Tehran. However, the foreign secretary and chancellor both quit following the Cabinet reshuffle, which took place on Wednesday after the appointment as Prime Minister of Boris Johnson. Mr Johnson has yet to reveal how he wants to tackle the Iranian crisis and Tehran has assured it “doesn’t seek confrontation”.
But as the tensions continue and Tehran keeps refusing to release the crews of the Stena Impero, analysts are looking at the military strength of the UK and Iran.
Global Fire Power (GFP) reviewed both Tehran and London’s military strength this year and ranked them eighth and 14th respectively out of the 137 nations analysed so far.
The website assesses the military strength of countries using a thorough in-house generated formula, called PowerIndex score (PwrIndx).
A comparison of the UK and Iran’s military strength shows Britain falling behind when it comes to manpower, land and naval strength and petroleum resources.
Iran boasts a larger population, with a total of people living in the country amounting to more than 83 million against the UK’s 65,105,000.
Of these, Iran has almost 40 million people fit for service, 48 percent of the entire population.
Britain has, on the other hand, 36.8 percent of its residents deemed ready to enter a conflict, a total of almost 24 million people.
And the countries’ total military personnel is respectively 873,000 for Iran and 233,000 for the UK.
Iran’s land strength looks superior to the UK’s on paper, as Tehran owns 1,634 combat tanks against Britain’s 331.
Tehran also has more self-propelled artillery, towed artillery and rocket projectors than the UK, while Britain owns more armoured fighting vehicles.
Tehran’s total naval assets, which includes all available vessels including auxiliaries, amounts to 398.
In sharp contrast, the UK has only 76 military vessels, including 22 patrol ships, 13 frigates and 6 destroyers.
However, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) will have available by mid-2020s the new Type 26 frigates currently under production at BAE Systems’ Govan shipyard, which will take the UK’s naval asset up a notch.
The UK seems to be triumphing over Iran with its airpower, with the country counting respectively 811 and 509 aircraft – including fixed and rotary-wing systems from all branch of service.
But much of Iran’s strength comes from its oil resources, branded by GFP analysts the “lifeblood of war”.
The warfare experts established Iran produces 4,469,000 barrels of oil per day (bbl/dy) against London’s 910,500 bbl/dy.
The Stena Impero was seized seven days ago in the Strait of Hormuz, two weeks after Britain’s Royal Navy stopped and sequestered an Iranian tanker off the coasts of Gibraltar suspected of breaching EU sanctions against Syria.
The Iranian Foreign Secretary, Mohammad Javad Zarif, told the then-frontrunner in the Tory leadership contest during a press conference: “It is very important for Boris Johnson as he enters 10 Downing Street to understand that Iran does not seek confrontation, that Iran wants normal relations based on mutual respect.”
But he also accused the UK of having acted on behalf of the US in Gibraltar.
He said: It was clear from the very beginning that the United Kingdom was doing the bidding for the Trump administration.”
“What the Brits did and what the Gibraltar authorities did in the Strait of Gibraltar was a violation of international law. It was piracy.”
Mr Zarif also branded allegations Tehran breached EU sanctions “unfounded” and accused the UK of acting “holier than the pope” in applying rules the “EU itself would not do”.