UK sends 3rd warship to reinforce US-led anti-Iran armada in the Persian Gulf
The UK, the biggest supporter so far of Washington’s idea for an international naval armada to ‘protect shipping’ in the Persian Gulf, is sending a third warship to the region, as the standoff with Iran continues.
The HMS Defender, a type-45 destroyer, left Portsmouth earlier this month, but its final destination was announced only on Saturday. Britain also has HMS Kent and HMS Montrose, both type-23 frigates, in the area. London says the ships are tasked with protecting UK-flagged vessels, after Iran seized the Stena Impero in July, following the Royal Navy’s earlier detention of its tanker, Grace 1, in Gibraltar.
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Tensions in the Gulf erupted earlier this year when the US increased its military presence in the region while also applying its sanctions campaign against Iran. Washington accused Tehran of attacks on oil tankers in the region in May and June and sent its aircraft carrier the USS Lincoln.
The US has been calling for the proposed international naval force to patrol the area but the UK was the only one to send its ships. Australia and Bahrain said last week that they would join the efforts.
“The presence of America and England in this region means insecurity,” the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s navy Alireza Tangsiri said last week.
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