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New British PM Johnson Discusses Trade, Iran In Phone Call With Trump

Britain's new prime minister, Boris Johnson

U.S. President Donald Trump has congratulated Boris Johnson in a phone call on becoming Britain’s prime minister and discussed the seizure by Iran of a British tanker in the Strait of Hormuz.

Trump told reporters at the White House on July 26 that he had just gotten off the phone with Johnson.

"I congratulated him and he's all set to go," Trump told reporters.

The two leaders discussed recent tensions with Iran and the need for Washington and London to work together on the issue, a statement issued by the British side said.

Tensions between Iran and Britain have escalated since the British Royal Navy’s capture of an Iranian tanker off Gibraltar on July 4 and Iran's subsequent seizure of a British-flagged oil tanker and its 23-member crew in the Strait of Hormuz on July 19.

The British tanker and its crew have been impounded at the southern Iranian port of Bandar Abbas for allegedly breaking "international maritime rules."

Britain and the ship’s owner deny any rules were broken.

Meanwhile, Trump said Washington and London were already working on a free-trade agreement between the two countries. Currently, Britain’s trade policies are tied to its European Union membership.

Johnson, like Trump, has expressed strong support for the process to remove Britain from the European Union.

Johnson succeeded Theresa May as the British leader this week after May’s failure to get a divorce deal with the EU through the British Parliament.

Johnson has vowed to take Britain out of the EU with or without a deal on October 31, raising fears by some of major economic disruptions with its trading partners in a no-deal scenario.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP