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Oil Tanker Attacks: Britain warns of ‘great risk’ of escalation in Gulf

Well… we guess the big bad Brits are going to have to send in their Royal Navy then aren’t they! 😀

Royal Navy set to deploy 100 men amid rising tensions as US points finger at Iran over attacks

By Herald Scotland Online

Royal Navy set to deploy 100 men amid rising tensions in tanker row

Royal Navy set to deploy 100 men amid rising tensions in tanker row

THE Royal Navy is drawing up plans to deploy 100 marines to the Persian Gulf to protect British ships after a series of alleged Iranian attacks on oil tankers in the region.

The Government‘s Cobra security committee is expected to meet tomorrow to discuss the escalating situation. The Marines will depart from 42 Commando based near Plymouth to form a rapid reaction force called the Special Purpose Task Group 19, according to reports.

It will operate from Navy ships patrolling the region from Britain’s £40m naval base in Bahrain, which opened last year. The task group will protect the Navy’s ships as well as mechant vessels.

Shipping insiders said tanker firms may be forced on to a “conflict footing” after tensions in the Gulf reached their highest point since 1987, when Iraq and Iran began destroying each other’s oil infrastructure.

Fresh details have emerged about conflict in recent weeks around the Strait of Hormuz.

HeraldScotland:

(Picture credit: PA)

US officials claimed Iranian forces had attempted to shoot down an American drone in the Gulf of Oman shortly before beginning an attack on two tankers on Thursday, according to CNN.

If confirmed, that would signal a willingness by Iran to directly confront the US in the Persian Gulf.

Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s president, yesterday repeated his threat to breach the 2015 nuclear agreement by resuming enrichment of the kind of highgrade uranium which could be used in a nuclear weapon.

Mr Rouhani has said that high-grade enrichment will resume in July unless European signatories to the deal find a way to circumvent US sanctions and bring relief to Iran’s faltering economy.

The US released a video that it said showed Iranian forces trying to hide evidence of attacking the tankers and the British Government said that it was “almost certain” that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard was responsible. “Without credible evidence about the tanker attacks, the Government’s rhetoric will only increase the threat of war,” Mr Corbyn said.

Mr Hunt called the comments “pathetic and predictable”. “From Salisbury to the Middle East, why can he never bring himself to back British allies, British intelligence or British interests?” he asked.

Heiko Mass, the German foreign minister, also said the grainy video released by the US was “not enough” to prove Iran was behind the attack.

The UN called for an independent investigation into what happened.

Oil Tanker Attacks: Britain Warns of ‘Great Risk’ of Escalation in Gulf

A Japanese-owned tanker, the Kokuka Courageous, and a Norwegian-operated one, the Front Altair, were attacked on Thursday and left ablaze as they were passing through the Gulf of Oman.

AFPUpdated:June 16, 2019, 7:13 PM IST

Oil Tanker Attacks: Britain Warns of 'Great Risk' of Escalation in Gulf
An oil tanker on fire in the sea of Oman on Thursday. (PTI)

London: British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt warned on Saturday there was a “great risk” of escalation in the Gulf, adding that Washington wanted the situation to end in negotiations.

A Japanese-owned tanker, the Kokuka Courageous, and a Norwegian-operated one, the Front Altair, were attacked on Thursday and left ablaze as they were passing through the Gulf of Oman.

Britain has concluded that responsibility “almost certainly” lies with Iran.

Asked on BBC television about the possibility of escalation, he said: “This is the great risk of the situation that we are in.

“Both sides in this dispute think that the other side wouldn’t want a war. We are urging all sides to de-escalate.

“Having spoken to President Trump, I am absolutely clear that for America they want this to end in negotiations.

“Let’s see Iran stop its destabilising activities in Lebanon through Hezbollah, in Yemen where they are firing missiles into Saudi Arabia, on the Gulf as we have seen. That is the long-term solution.”

The damaged Kokuka Courageous arrived Sunday at a UAE anchorage site as Saudi Arabia accused arch-rival Iran of being behind the attack.

US President Donald Trump has said the twin attacks had Iran “written all over it” — rejecting Tehran’s vehement denial.

Hunt defended his assertion that Iran was “almost certain” to blame for the attacks.

“We have done our own intelligence assessment. We have got videos of what happened. We have seen evidence. We don’t believe anyone else could have done this,” he said.

The owner of the Japanese vessel said Friday in Tokyo however that the crew saw a “flying object” prior to a second blast on board citing two apparent attacks.

He added he believed initial reports suggesting a torpedo was involved in the attack were incorrect as the damage was above the sea surface not below water, which would have suggested a torpedo

Britain warns of ‘great risk’ of escalation in Gulf

16 Jun 2019 07:16PM (Updated: 16 Jun 2019 10:33PM)

LONDON/WASHINGTON: British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt warned Sunday (Jun 16) there was a “great risk” of escalation in the Gulf, adding that Washington wanted the situation to end in negotiations.

A Japanese-owned tanker, the Kokuka Courageous, and a Norwegian-operated one, the Front Altair, were attacked on Thursday and left ablaze as they were passing through the Gulf of Oman.AdvertisementAdvertisement

Britain has concluded that responsibility “almost certainly” lies with Iran.

Asked on BBC television about the possibility of escalation, he said: “This is the great risk of the situation that we are in.

“Both sides in this dispute think that the other side wouldn’t want a war. We are urging all sides to de-escalate.

“Having spoken to President Trump, I am absolutely clear that for America, they want this to end in negotiations.AdvertisementAdvertisement

“Let’s see Iran stop its destabilising activities in Lebanon through Hezbollah, in Yemen where they are firing missiles into Saudi Arabia, on the Gulf as we have seen. That is the long-term solution.”

The damaged Kokuka Courageous arrived Sunday at a UAE anchorage site as Saudi Arabia accused arch-rival Iran of being behind the attack.

US President Donald Trump has said the twin attacks had Iran “written all over it” – rejecting Tehran’s vehement denial.

The owner of the Japanese vessel said Friday in Tokyo that the crew saw a “flying object” prior to a second blast on board, citing two apparent attacks.

Hunt defended his assertion that Iran was “almost certain” to blame for the attacks.

“We have done our own intelligence assessment. We have got videos of what happened. We have seen evidence. We don’t believe anyone else could have done this,” he said.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo vowed on Sunday that the United States will guarantee free passage through the vital Strait of Hormuz.

Pompeo would not be drawn on what options the US is considering to protect shipping – or to punish Iran – in the wake of Thursday’s attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman.

“What you should assume is we are going to guarantee freedom of navigation throughout the strait,” he said in an interview on Fox News Sunday.

A third of the world’s seaborne oil supply passes through the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow channel bordered to the north by Iran that links the Gulf with the Gulf of Oman.

“This is an international challenge, important to the entire globe. The United States is going to make sure that we take all the actions necessary, diplomatic and otherwise, that achieve that outcome,” Pompeo said.

He would not lay out US evidence for Iran’s involvement in the Gulf of Oman explosions, but insisted: “It’s unmistakable what happened here.

“These were attacks by the Islamic Republic of Iran on commercial shipping, on the freedom of navigation, with the clear intent to deny transit through the strait.”
Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/world/britain-warns-of-great-risk-of-escalation-in-gulf-11632036

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