New British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s “familiarity” with Iran will help improve relations between the Islamic Republic and Britain, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday.

In a message posted on the official Iranian presidency website, Rouhani congratulated Johnson on his appointment and outlined his hopes for better future relations:

In the Name of God,

Your Excellency Mr Boris Johnson,

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland,

I would like to offer my congratulations to Your Excellency on your election as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

I hope that Your Excellency’s familiarity with relations between Iran and the United Kingdom, and your only one visit to Tehran greatly contribute to removing the existing obstacles on the path of development of relations between the two countries, and we witness further deepening of bilateral and multilateral relations during your tenure as the Prime Minister.

I wish Your Excellency health and success.

Hassan Rouhani

President of the Islamic Republic of Iran

Tensions between London and Tehran have been under increasing strain since Iranian commandos seized the British-flagged Stena Impero oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz on July 19, two weeks after Royal Marines captured an Iranian oil tanker near Gibraltar, accusing it of violating sanctions on Syria.

Rouhani’s public plea came within hours of a Royal Navy warship arriving in the Persian Gulf to accompany British-flagged ships transiting the Strait of Hormuz, as Breitbart News reported.

Britain’s Ministry of Defense said Sunday the Type 45 destroyer HMS Duncan will join the frigate HMS Montrose to defend freedom of navigation.

The deployments are part of Operation Kipion – the name given to British forces in the Gulf and the Indian Ocean.

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