UK ‘could bolster military presence in the Gulf’
London: Britain on Tuesday said it could send
more military forces including warships to the Strait of
Hormuz to deter any moves by Iran to block the Persian Gulf
"An escalation of a dispute with Iran could see Britain
sending military reinforcements to the Gulf", the British
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said.
Hammond told reporters here that two British and French
warships and the American aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln
had entered the Gulf on Sunday to show Tehran that any
interference with global shipping would not be tolerated.
The British announcement came as Iranian leaders in
Tehran have threatened to close off the straits, through which
passes one-fifth of the world's oil, against EU sanctions on
its oil exports.
"The UK has a contingent capability to reinforce its
presence in the region should at any time it be considered
necessary to do so", the Secretary said.
Hammad made the remarks at a news conference following
the annual round of talks between UK and Australia on security
and international issues, BBC reported.
In a hard hitting measure, the European Union yesterday
slapped sanctions to ban all new oil contracts with Iran and
freeze the country's central bank assets in the EU.