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Tuesday 20th March 2018

UK Resolute Over Maritime Interests in Gulf but Won’t Escort All Vessels

Counterterrorism & Security

7Dnews London - Reuters

Thu, 11 Jul 2019 18:00 GMT

A security source on Thursday, July 11th, denied intentions of the United Kingdom to accompany every British vessel through the Strait of Hormuz, shortly after three Iranian vessels attempted to block the passage of a UK-flagged oil tanker, Reuters reported.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has dismissed as "worthless" the allegation that Iran had tried to block the ship.

This comes only few days after an Iranian IRGC commander threatened Britain, on Twitter, saying that the Iranian authorities may have to seize a British oil tanker as retaliation for Iran's Grace 1 tanker seized by Gibraltar authorities on suspicion of carrying crude oil to Syria.

There are about 15 to 30 large UK-flagged ships in the Gulf area on any day, the security source said, adding that up to three of these ships pass through the Strait of Hormuz on any given day.

On Tuesday, Britain raised its ship security to the highest category for their ships in Iranian waters.

"Level 3 for shipping would be comparable to 'critical' and that is where there is a much-heightened risk ...," the British source said. "We went to level 3 for Iranian waters at the start of this week.

"We will be resolute in defending UK maritime interests in the Gulf but we have absolutely no interest in escalating the situation with Iran," the source added.

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