Iran Protests Arrival of Second British Navy Vessel In Persian Gulf
July 29, 2019
A second British warship arrived in the Persian Gulf as Iran has called Britain's proposal for a European-led maritime mission to escort tankers in the area "provocative."
Britain's Defense Ministry said that the HMS Duncan destroyer joined the HMS Montrose frigate to "support the safe passage of British-flagged ships" through the Strait of Hormuz that bisects the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman.
Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei said Britain's intention to send a European fleet to the Persian Gulf "carries a hostile message."
Britain has said the purpose of the maritime patrol is in response to Iran's seizure of a British-flagged oil tanker on July 19.
"While we continue to push for a diplomatic resolution that will make this possible again without military accompaniment, the Royal Navy will continue to provide a safeguard for UK vessels until this is the reality," British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said.
Two weeks ago British authorities seized an Iranian tanker off its overseas territory of Gibraltar over allegations that it was in violation of European Union sanctions on Syria.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also has called for a heavier warship presence in the Gulf to "ensure freedom of navigation" in the area.
Based on reporting by AFP and dpa
Copyright (c) 2019. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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