Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Task force to be sent to the Gulf to protect British ships after Iran’s tanker seizure

Jeremy Hunt
Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy Hunt has announced the launch of a joint European maritime mission to the Gulf after a British tanker was seized by Iranian forces.

In a statement to the House of Commons he said the UK will ask all British flagged ships to give notice of intention to pass through the Strait of Hormuz so they can be given protection.

Iran seized the British-flagged Stena Impero on Friday in retaliation for Royal Navy marines impounding an Iranian supertanker off Gibraltar earlier this month on suspicion it was transporting oil to Syria in violation of European Union sanctions.

Mr Hunt described the move as an “act of state piracy” and said the European mission would focus on ensuring free navigation through one of the world’s most important waterways, which carries a fifth of the world’s oil and a quarter of its liquefied natural gas flow.

He said: “It is with a heavy heart that we are announcing this increased international presence in the Gulf, because the focus of our diplomacy has been on de-escalating tensions in the hope that such changes would not be necessary.

“If Iran continues on this dangerous path, they must accept the price will be a larger Western military presence in the waters along their coastline, not because we wish to increase tensions but simply because freedom of navigation is a principle which Britain and its allies will always defend.”

Responding to a question from the SNP’s foreign affairs spokesman Stephen Gethins on the impact of the USA pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal, Mr Hunt said: “The Trump administration has a genuine and honest difference of opinion with us because it isn’t a perfect deal.

“It was a deal that allowed sanctions relief for Iran but did not prevent Iran from supporting its proxies in Lebanon and Yemen and Syria and Iraq and allowed Iran to carry on destabilising the region.”

Mr Hunt added: “We, however, feel that given that four years ago they were 18-months away from acquiring a nuclear weapon, it is a huge diplomatic achievement that Iran does not today have a nuclear weapon.

“The Middle East would have been much more dangerous if they had.”

Earlier, Mr Gethins said the UK Government had “taken its eye off the ball” over Iran.

He added: “This is a dangerous situation and there must be a clear understanding of what’s going on as well as looking at ways to de-escalate the situation.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in



More from the Press and Journal UK politics team

More from the Press and Journal