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Revealed: Britain, US building up military presence in the Gulf

Revealed: Britain, US building up military presence in the Gulf

2019/07/12 | 18:50

(Hatha al-Youm | Iraq News)-

Theresa May has revealed she is in ongoing talks with United

States officials to build up military presence in the Middle East as tensions

with Iran escalate.Tensions between London

and Tehran have reached a new high after warship HMS Montrose was forced to

warn off three Iranian ships who tried to stop the British Heritage, operated

by BP, from entering the Strait of Hormuz. The Government has raised its ship security

level to 3 to indicate the “critical” situation in the area for ships bearing

the Union Jack. A British source said: “Level 3 for shipping security would be

comparable to ‘critical’ and that is where there is a much-heightened

risk. “We

went to level 3 for Iranian waters at the start of this week.”However,

the source added the UK wants to de-escalate tensions and will not escort every

single British-flagged merchant vessel going through the Strait.The source continued: “We will

be resolute in defending UK maritime interests in the Gulf, but we have

absolutely no interest in escalating the situation with Iran.” And today Theresa May's spokeswoman said

talks with ongoing with American officials to build up a military presence in

the region.The

UK Government accused three Iranian ships of approaching the British Heritage

tanker in the strait, which represents the main outlet for Middle Eastern oil -

which prompted the response of the Navy.A

Government spokesman explained: “HMS Montrose was forced to position herself

between the Iranian vessels and British Heritage and issue verbal warnings to

the Iranian vessels, which then turned away.”Up

to three British vessels go through the Strait of Hormuz every day, and between

15 to 30 are in the Gulf area on a daily basis.Tehran

rubbished the British accusations as “worthless”, with the country’s Foreign

Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif saying Iran didn’t seek to block the ship. This happened exactly one week after Royal

Marines seized the Iranian tanker Grace 1 off the coast of Gibraltar, accused

of violating EU sanctions on Syria.Police

in Gibraltar then arrested the captain and chief officer of the detained

vessels and seized electronic devices from the ship.The EU has

sided with Iran over the row between Tehran and Washington and has been trying

to keep the JCPOA, also known as Iran nuclear deal, alive after Donald

Trump pulled out of it in May 2018.However,

one of Brussels’ red lines is not selling oil to Iran’s ally, Syria.Despite not seeking to escalate tensions

with Iran, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt vowed to boost the “hard power” of

Britain’s military as a response to the “deeply troubling” events in the Middle

East.











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