Would the UK join US in war with Iran? Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt says he ‘cannot envisage’ any scenario in which the UK would join a US-led conflict… WE CAN! :D

“We can ‘envisage’ a scenario in which the British goyi… public will be vying for Iranian blood!”

  1. The British are dumber than at any point since probably the dark ages!
  2. The British live in a fucking fantasy world!
  3. The British are being severely blackmailed in every possible way! (child abuse? Gang stalking? :/)
  4. The British are Americas little lap doggy!
  5. The British still believe they have an empire to wage war for!
  6. … (anyone else?)

United Britain of Great Kingdom… you are going to fucking war!

Would the UK join US in war with Iran?

Jun 26, 2019

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt says he ‘cannot envisage’ any scenario in which the UK would join a US-led conflict

Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

The Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has appeared to rule out the UK joining in a war with the United States against Iran.

The standoff between the Trump administration and Tehran took another dangerous turn yesterday after the White House imposed new sanctions, including on Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, a move which senior Iranian officials said spelled the “permanent closures” of diplomacy between the two nations.

In a direct jibe at Trump, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani further stoked tensions by claiming the White House was “afflicted by mental retardation”.

CNN says the exchanges “demonstrated that despite President Donald Trump’s decision to call off a ‘cocked and loaded’ military strike on Iran last week, the confrontation could simply be headed down a slower path to war”.

It comes as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo travelled to the Middle East to build what he called a “global coalition” against Iran.

He added that he wanted to build an alliance “not only throughout the Gulf states, but in Asia and in Europe that understands this challenge as is prepared to push back against the world’s largest state sponsor of terror”.

Yet concerns the UK could be dragged into what he called an “accidental war” in the Middle East at the insistence of its long-standing military ally appear to have been dismissed by Jeremy Hunt.

“The US is our closest ally, we talk to them the whole time, we consider any requests that they say carefully, but I cannot envisage any situation where they request or we agree to any moves to go to war,” Hunt told MPs.

The Independent reports the Boris Johnson’s rival for Number 10 “attempted to reassure MPs he was trying to de-escalate the crisis” after he was asked by SNP MP Alan Brown to confirm Britain would “not be dragged blindly” into any possible US-Iran conflict.

“We’ve made serious efforts to de-escalate tension, including a visit by my friend the minister for the Middle East to Tehran at the end of last week,” said the foreign secretary.

His comments appear to mark a hardening of the UK position. On Monday Hunt said Britain would look at requests for military support from “its closest ally” in the event of war “on a case-by-case basis”.

In recent years, British forces have joined their American counterparts in conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, but Downing Street was quick to play down these comments, with Theresa May’s spokesman saying “we have consistently said our priority is to find a diplomatic solution to de-escalate tension”.

It has not stopped Irish freelancer writer Danielle Ryan in RT from picking up on Hunt’s comments.

“With the US doing its level best to raise tensions with Iran, Hunt has revealed himself to be every bit the pathetic poodle of Washington that Tony Blair and ex-foreign secretary Jack Straw were in 2003 before the invasion of Iraq,” she writes in an op-ed.

“Britain is playing along, slotting into its usual role as the supportive sidekick, ready to eat up whatever dodgy evidence Washington produces — and, no doubt preparing to concoct some of its own to go with it,” she adds.


Israeli F-35s train alongside US, UK in first international exercise

“Of course of fucking course the British bell ends will join the US and Israel in striking Iran… they don’t really have choice in the matter! 😀 It’s not like the British public, politicians or whoever is Prime Minister have a say in the matter is it!… … fucking idiots.”

“F-35’s… unfortunately not the most advanced fighter jet on the planet. That would be the F-22 Raptor… which the US will still not share with Israel… ‘The Obey Amendment‘”
‘Purpose: An amendment to prohibt the sale of F-22 aircraft to any foreign government.’ … there was one foreign government they specifically had in mind… wankers.

Let’s have a bit of Kenny Loggins!… … DANGER ZONE! XD

Israeli F-35s train alongside US, UK in first international exercise

Fifth-generation stealth fighter jets fly in drill over Mediterranean Sea to test and improve aircraft’s abilities, IDF says

By Judah Ari Gross Today, 1:05 pm

F-35 fighter jets from Israel, the United States and the United Kingdom take part in an aerial exercise over the Mediterranean Sea on June 25, 2019. (Israel Defense Forces)

F-35 fighter jets from Israel, the United States and the United Kingdom take part in an aerial exercise over the Mediterranean Sea on June 25, 2019. (Israel Defense Forces)

F-35 fighter jets from Israel, the United States and United Kingdom conducted training flights over the Mediterranean Sea Tuesday in the Israeli aircraft’s first-ever international exercise, the military said.

This marked a significant show of military cooperation between the three countries.

The Israel Defense Forces received the fifth-generation stealth fighter from the United States’ Lockheed Martin defense contractor in late 2016 and declared it operational roughly a year later. In 2018, the Israeli Air Force revealed it had used the F-35 operationally — including at least once over Lebanon — making it the first military in the world to do so.

On Tuesday, the United Kingdom said its F-35 fighter jets had also conducted their first missions, flying sorties over Iraq and Syria as part of the fight against the Islamic State terror group.

The joint drill, which included dogfights between the F-35 fighter jets, was dubbed “Tri-Lightning,” a reference to the aircraft’s official designation, the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II.

“The first international air exercise involving Israeli F-35 planes alongside foreign F-35 planes was held yesterday. The exercise was held over the Mediterranean Sea and simulated survival scenarios and defense against varying threats from advanced aircraft, including the F-35 plane,” the IDF said in a statement.

The Israeli Air Force said it planned to hold additional international exercises with the stealth fighter jets in the future in order to “advance its capabilities.”

F-35 fighter jets from Israel, the United States and the United Kingdom take part in an aerial exercise over the Mediterranean Sea on June 25, 2019. (Israel Defense Forces)

As one of the world’s leading air forces, the IAF regularly leads and participates in international exercises, including its flagship biennial Blue Flag drill.

Israel was also invited to take part in the British Royal Air Force’s Cobra Warrior exercise planned for September 2019.

“International cooperation between Israel, the US and Britain strengthens our joint interests and our new, exclusive capabilities in the Middle East,” said IAF Chief of Air Staff Brig. Gen. Amnon Ein-Dar.

Last week, the air force held a large multi-day exercise simulating combat action on multiple fronts, the army said Tuesday, with F-35s taking part for the first time.

That drill included night and day missions by fighter jets, helicopters, cargo planes, drones, air defense units and ground support forces. It simulated simultaneous fighting in the Gaza Strip, Syria and Lebanon, and included scenarios involving an enemy armed with advanced technology, such as the Russian S-300 and S-400 missile defense systems; a home front under massive missile attacks; and challenges such as damaged runways and disabled IAF communications centers.

An Israeli Air Force F-35 is seen during an air force exercise, June 2019. (IDF Spokesperson)

The IAF has acknowledged receiving from the US-based Lockheed Martin defense contractor at least 14 F-35 fighter jets of the 50 that have been ordered. These are scheduled to be delivered in installments of twos and threes through 2024.

The fifth-generation F-35 has been lauded as a “game-changer” by the military, not only for its offensive and stealth capabilities, but for its ability to connect its systems with other aircraft and form an information-sharing network.

Detractors, however, balked at the high price tag for the aircraft: approximately $100 million apiece (Lockheed Martin says the cost is expected to go down as more countries purchase the F-35).


With its population set to double in 30 years, how will Israel cope?

I’m not the only person thinking it! (may be one of the few to openly state it)… Israel expands it’s borders.
Israel is NOT handing back any land it has taken in self defence… Judea and Samaria… and if there is another war… Israel should take more land from it’s enemies!

With its population set to double in 30 years, how will Israel cope?

The government plans to build 1.5 million new homes by 2040, mostly in the crowded center, but critics say housing without infrastructure won’t work, call to develop Negev, Galilee

By Sue Surkes

Under government plans to meet population growth with denser residential building in urban areas, tall apartment buildings like these in north Tel Aviv, photographed in December 2, 2016, will change the skyline of many cities. (Gili Yaari /Flash90)

Under government plans to meet population growth with denser residential building in urban areas, tall apartment buildings like these in north Tel Aviv, photographed in December 2, 2016, will change the skyline of many cities. (Gili Yaari /Flash90)

Planet Earth, currently home to 7.7 billion people, will have to cope with an extra two billion souls by 2050 and a total of up to around 11 billion by the end of the century, according to a UN report published Sunday.

Within the same 2050 time frame, Israel’s population — the fastest-growing in the developed world, increasing by two percent annually  — is set to almost double from the current nine million to 17.6 million, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics. And that’s in a dot of a country, just a little bigger than New Jersey in the US or Wales in the UK, that already has one of the highest population densities in the West and rapidly depleting open space.

Like many countries facing exponential growth, the Jewish state is trying to grapple with the implications and, following massive social protests in 2011 over the cost of living, of housing in particular, the government has been focusing on the need for a massive number of new homes.

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In 2017, having set up a new bureaucracy to fast-track planning and cut red tape, it approved the construction of 1.5 million housing units by 2040.

Residential towers in the central Israeli city of Petah Tikva, June 24, 2015. (Nati Shohat/FLASH90)

Critics — among them many mayors — say the government’s overriding focus on massive residential construction fails to take sufficient account of the need for capital investment in additional infrastructure such as roads, sewers, public transportation, schools and hospitals. Increased congestion on roads and crowding of public services will only lower quality of life, they warn.

The building obsession also overlooks the ability of local authorities to finance services for rapidly increasing populations on an ongoing basis, they charge.

Civil society and environmental groups, furthermore, bemoan the draconian powers awarded to a new planning body which, contrary to government declarations about the importance of preserving the country’s rapidly diminishing open space, currently envisions much of the new housing being built on green areas bordering cities and on agricultural land rezoned for residential construction.

Top-down government approach

Following the 2011 social protests, which at their height brought 400,000 Israelis out to the streets, the government established a ministerial committee for planning and construction that became known as the “housing cabinet.” The cabinet’s role is to declare “preferred [priority] sites for housing,” 108 of which had been announced by the end of last year, for the building of 386,000 apartments.

'The people demand social justice' was a catchphrase of the social protests that erupted around the country in the summer of 2011. The Trajtenberg Committee was established following the protests. (photo credit: David Katz/The Israel Project)

‘The people demand social justice’ was a catchphrase of the social protests that erupted around the country in the summer of 2011. (David Katz/The Israel Project)

To speedily approve plans for large-scale building on these preferred sites, the government then created in 2014 a temporary Committee for Preferred Housing Sites, known by its Hebrew initials as Vatmal, whose term has already been extended and will come up for Knesset renewal again in August.

Running parallel to the regular tiers of local, district and national planning committees, the Vatmal has since 2014 approved a third of all housing units green-lighted for construction.

Head of the Kulanu party Moshe Kahlon speaks to party supporters as the results in the Israeli general elections are announced, at the party headquarters, on April 9, 2019. (Roy Alima/Flash90)

The Vatmal is based in the Finance Ministry, where minister Moshe Kahlon has staked his reputation on bringing housing prices down. It has the authority to override all but one existing national plans. A large majority of its 18 members are drawn from government departments. Public objections can be lodged but are rarely accepted, and there is no right of appeal against its decisions.

In February 2017, the government approved a nationwide target of 1.5 million new units to be approved by all planning bodies, including the Vatmal, and to be built by 2040, of which more than a million are to be in Tel Aviv and the center of the country, where demand is high. The planning targets for the various regions actually add up to a total of 2.6 million units to take account of the fact that not all plans reach fruition.

Vatmal’s annual report for 2018 states that plots for 34,500 apartments were in the process of being marketed, with plans for a further 27,000 apartments being advanced within the context of demolishing old buildings in inner cities and building new, bigger ones.

Four years on from the Vatmal’s establishment, earthworks and building are in progress at a small number of sites.

It’s all about the money

But while central government dictates the preferred housing sites and the Vatmal approves the plans, many mayors are in no hurry to issue building permits for two main reasons, both of which come down to money.

As the director general of the Interior Ministry, Mordechai Cohen, told a Tel Aviv real estate conference organized by the business daily The Marker, on Monday, widespread local authority opposition to massive new building could be averted by changes to what he called a “distorted” local tax system.

To date, local councils have focused on boosting commercial development because commercial rates are higher than residential ones. The latter go nowhere near helping to cover the costs of municipal services.

Buses near Dizengoff Center in Tel Aviv (photo credit Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff Center, a magnet for commerce. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

To alter the balance and try to encourage the councils to look more favorably upon major apartment construction, the government introduced “umbrella agreements” (known in Hebrew as  “roof” agreements). Around 30 cities have signed such umbrella agreements so far. These are contracts signed between local authorities, the Finance and Housing ministries and the Israel Land Administration.

The agreements allow the state to sell to one or more developers land that it owns within the boundaries of a particular local authority. The developers buy the land in the knowledge that the council has committed to building a certain number of apartments. The deal, usually for several high towers, is attractive to the building companies because of the profits to be made from the sale of so many units. The council benefits because the government transfers to it some of the earnings from the sale of the land to allow for the creation of new infrastructure. Everyone wins. Or do they?

Some mayors think that the money is not sufficient or that government promises cannot be relied on, even if signed into contracts.

Earlier this month, after the municipality of coastal Herzliya approved replacing 570 apartments in old buildings with 1,843 units in 15 new residential towers, up to 30 stories high, Mayor Moshe Fadlon announced that he would not back further urban renewal because the water available to the city would not supply more than an additional 22 apartments.

Moshe Fadlon, mayor of Herzliya. (Facebook)

According to the Globes business daily, he called on other mayors to follow suit and slammed the government, saying that it did not stand by its commitments and that there was “no policy.” He warned, “No infrastructure, no urban renewal.”

A Herzliya council spokesperson told The Times of Israel, “The mayor has announced that he will not allow any new building in areas such as north Herzliya without a solution to national infrastructure [needs] in areas such as transportation, water, drainage and electricity.”

According to Yoni Weizman, deputy director general responsible for the development and construction division at the Israel Builders Association, which represents around 6,000 active builders across the country, nearly 60% of the price of every apartment sold goes to the government in taxes, providing a pool of money that could be used to help local authorities initiate urban renewal projects with appropriate infrastructure, without incurring massive debt.

Earthquake protection

The Vatmal deals with large-scale new building and with inner city projects to demolish complexes of old structures and build new ones.

A second track for urban renewal, which runs through the standard planning committees, is provided via National Outline Plan 38, better known by its Hebrew acronym, Tama 38. The government introduced Tama 38 in 2005 to speed up the strengthening or replacement of buildings constructed before earthquake regulations were introduced in 1980 and to do so within the framework of the private sector.

Regular building plans can take many years to reach fruition. Because Israel is located on the Syrian-African rift earthquake zone and the danger could be imminent, Tama 38 cuts through the bureaucracy. As it already constitutes a plan that has been approved nationally, all that contractors have to do is to request a building permit from the local authority.

A building that has undergone refurbishment and expansion through Tama 38 next to a building that has not. (YouTube screenshot)

Like the umbrella agreements, Tama 38 was framed to offer a win-win opportunity, in this case to builders and residents. Builders are allowed to add up to 2.5 stories to create apartments which they can sell to make a profit while also covering the money they invest in strengthening or replacing the existing old apartment buildings. Residents get a refurbished or new building, without having to spend a dime, along with apartments that are 25 meters (82 square feet) larger than their original ones thanks to the addition of a bomb-proof room and a balcony.

Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv, was an early poster child for Tama 38. Buildings completed or going through the process of Tama can be seen on every other street.

But at the end of April, the municipality, whose mayor changed in local elections in October, announced that it would henceforth only grant building permits for Tama 38 in exceptional circumstances.

The new mayor, former Likud MK Carmel Shama-Hacohen, opined at a conference this month at Tel Aviv University, “The government opted for a bad plan which has no planning vision and is clearly mistaken.” Economic incentives are not tools of planning, he told the event, organized by Life and Environment, which represents more than 120 environmental NGOs.

Ramat Gan mayor and former Likud MK Carmel Shama Hacohen at a convention of newly elected mayors and heads of local councils, in Ashkelon, November 27, 2018. (Flash90)

Shama-Hacohen, who previously served as Israel’s envoy to the OECD, UNESCO and the Council of Europe, said, “Here, people know that they’re going to get a new, bigger home. But they’re banging their heads against a concrete wall. They don’t think of the implications for infrastructure, quality of life, for the council’s regular and capital development budgets.”

Ramat Gan city engineer Sigal Horesh later explained to The Times of Israel, “The problem with Tama 38 is that to incentivize developers and residents to strengthen old buildings, it exempts both from certain taxes and in so doing deprives the city of millions of shekels that could be used for general development.”

Ramat Gan, she added, was currently in talks with the Vatmal to sign umbrella deals for priority housing sites.

But the city’s sudden reversal of policy threatens to leave builders in Ramat Gan high and dry, says the Israel Builders Association, which went to court earlier this month against Ramat Gan’s decision, seeing it as a test case requiring a court ruling as well as clarification by the attorney general, who is named as a respondent in its petition to the Tel Aviv District Court.

Putting builders out of business

The association’s Yoni Weizman told The Times of Israel that 180 Tama 38 projects were moving along the planning process in Ramat Gan. Without a transition period, such a sudden cancellation could bankrupt many of the small and medium-sized builders who have already laid out considerable amounts of money.

Contractors have to advance millions of shekels on architects, consultants, coordinators of tenants and other items in order to secure a building permit for Tama 38 in a process that can take as long as five years. Then they have to renovate or rebuild the old apartment buildings before they can add stories and create their own apartments to sell to recoup their investment.

Yoni Weizman, deputy director general responsible for the development and construction division at the Israel Builders Association. (Courtesy)

Although originally conceived as a solution for buildings in danger of earthquake damage, Tama 38 has come to be seen as a relatively quick-to-implement plank in the national plan to build an average of 65,000 housing units each year — and that, according to Weizman, is before making up for an existing shortfall of 150,000 apartments countrywide.

“At a time when you need to build, you’re going to lose thousands of apartments [by blocking Tama 38 in Ramat Gan], with the result that housing prices in a high-demand city such as Ramat Gan will rise,” Weizman said.

Tama 38 has been a flop in peripheral areas, which, ironically, are the most exposed to earthquake danger due to their location, because low apartment sale prices make the investment uneconomical for developers. Even within more central cities and towns, strengthening or rebuilding under Tama may only be profitable in wealthier neighborhoods where the market value of every square meter is high.

In its report for 2018, the government’s Urban Renewal Authority said that just 3,800 apartments were sold through Tama projects, representing 14% of all new apartments sold during that year. This hardly makes a dent in the target of 65,000 housing units annually.

On Monday, Dalit Zilber, head of the national planning committee (as opposed to the Vatmal), told The Marker’s real estate conference that Tama 38’s time had probably come to an end.

Don’t touch our open spaces

Critics such as the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel say that in the rush to build, environmental considerations are set aside and too many construction plans are approved for virgin or rezoned agricultural land. With a little more effort and research, it argues, space for more intensive building within city boundaries can be found.

The endangered mountain gazelle. (Wikimedia Commons/Bassem18)

Of the target 1.5 million units planned by 2040, 386,000 have landed in the Vatmal’s court so far. Of these, the Vatmal has already approved 164,000 within the framework of 52 plans.

In its fourth annual report on the Vatmal’s work, published in Hebrew in March, the SPNI found that of these 164,000 units, just seven percent were for inner city demolition and building, with most of the preferred housing sites located on the outskirts of cities on open and agricultural land.

The SPNI report calls on the government to strengthen the existing planning hierarchy, which is far more responsive to the public, rather than imposing building targets in a top-down manner, and to look more carefully at existing inventories held by local councils of inner city buildings that can be replaced or enlarged and at empty plots that can be built upon.

Housing stock should be increased as much as possible within cities, the organization says; not only is this much cheaper because of the additional need for infrastructure in green belt areas, but in order to preserve crucial ecological systems upon which this and future generations will depend.

Limiting births

Attending the same conference as Shama-Hacohen earlier this month was Prof. Alon Tal, a veteran environmental campaigner, head of the department of public policy at Tel Aviv University and founder of Adam Teva V’Din — the Israel Union for Environmental Defense.

Prof. Alon Tal, pictured with his book, ‘The Land is Full.’ (Facebook)

“Everything that we’re are talking about” — including environmental degradation, and massive building plans — “are symptoms,” he said. “We all know that Israel is growing by two percent a year. It’s very difficult to provide over 60,000 housing units annually without harming citizens’ rights, environmental quality, nature, and our quality of life.”

Tal recently founded another NGO — Zafuf (which means “crowded” in Hebrew): The Israel Forum for Population, Environment, and Society.

In 2016, Yale University Press published his book, “The Land is Full: Addressing Overpopulation in Israel.”

In the book, Tal singles out the two populations most responsible for the country’s galloping population growth; ultra-Orthodox Jews and Bedouin Arabs.

The former, according to a Central Bureau of Statistics report issued May 2017, accounted for 11 percent of the total population in Israel in 2015. By 2040, that figure was predicted to reach 20%, rising to 32% by 2065. Subtracting Arab citizens, this rises to 40% by 2065, with one in two of all non-Arab children being ultra-Orthodox and one in four being of working age. At present, only around half of Haredim work, with men preferring to study holy works instead. (The percentage of Arabs in the population is predicted to remain constant at around 21% until 2065 and then to begin to fall.)

Population growth vs quality of life

“You can always cram in more and more people,” Tal told the conference. “The question is, ‘What sort of life do we want to lead? When does the figure start to harm our quality of life?’ We have to start talking about limiting births.”

Speaking to The Times of Israel on the conference sidelines, Tal elaborated, “It’s a small country. At the end of the day, it’s going to need more than 1.5 million more housing units, it’s going to need 20 million, because you’re growing all the time. We all know that in a closed system, infinite growth is impossible.”

Tal said the way to reduce population growth was to remove government incentives to have more children, which start with grants for each birth and continue with various payments for each child.

Illustrative: Newborn babies in a Jerusalem hospital. (Flash90)

“People say to me, ‘Alon, how can you ethically justify the government coming into our bedrooms and telling us what to do?’ And I say, ‘I want to get the government out of our bedrooms! Right now, the government comes in and hands out money and says ‘have kids, have kids, have kids!’ That is lunacy!

“We have the most crowded country in the Western world and it’s doubling in size every 30 years and we have to realize that the ethos and the axioms that have characterized the planning system are outdated, inappropriate and ecologically disastrous.”

Ray of hope?

Maybe hope will come from the Israel 2048 group, which is devoted to developing the full potential of the still sparsely populated Negev and Galilee regions of the country so that they can accommodate a total of seven million people by 2048, instead of the predicted four million, providing the same level of services and employment opportunities as Israel’s overstretched center.

Bringing together government ministries, the National Economic Council, the Israel Builders Association, local authorities in the Negev and the Galilee, students and academic experts, the award-winning organization is working toward reducing the expected population in the central region by actively increasing that in the peripheral north and south of the country.

It has already established new communities and helped to strengthen existing ones, and has raised funds to create more than 80 infrastructure projects.

“By the year 2048, Israel will likely be home to more than 17 million residents,” says the organization’s website. “Only four million of those people are expected to live in the Negev and Galilee. That’s 75% of Israel’s territory, with just 25% of the population. Meanwhile, 12 million people will live in the small area between Nazareth and Kiryat Gat. The entire country will depend on a single, crowded and unaffordable, economic center. This scenario will destroy the quality of life for Israel’s residents, and exacerbate the already growing socioeconomic gaps.

“We can sit back and watch the crisis unfold,” it argues, “or we can stand up and build a strong, sustainable Israel.”


Britain COULD (WILL!) join Trump in a war on Iran, says Jeremy Hunt – as tensions rise after Tehran missile systems were hit by US cyber attack

The UK is one big creepy, mentally ill, and depraved gang stalking cult!

Britain COULD join Trump in a war on Iran, says Jeremy Hunt – as tensions rise after Tehran missile systems were hit by US cyber attack

  • Mr Hunt said UK would consider requests for support ‘on a case-by-case basis’
  • Comes after Donald Trump backed away from a major bombing campaign 
  • Tensions have escalated ever since US withdrew from nuclear pact last year 

Britain will consider joining a US military assault on Iran, Jeremy Hunt said last night.

The Foreign Secretary confirmed the UK would consider requests for support ‘on a case-by-case basis’.

Washington has already mounted a full-scale cyber attack on Iran in the wake of an unmanned US drone being shot down. The Pentagon targeted computer systems used to control Tehran’s missile and rocket systems, intelligence sources said.

Donald Trump had earlier backed away from unleashing a major bombing campaign. He said the US military had been ‘cocked and loaded’ but added: ‘I am in no hurry.’

Tensions have escalated between the two countries ever since the US withdrew last year from a nuclear pact. Washington has blamed the Islamic Revolutionary Guard for attacking two tankers in the Strait of Hormuz – a key oil shipping route – this month. 

Britain will consider joining a US military assault on Iran, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, pictured today, said last night

Tensions have escalated between the two countries ever since the US withdrew last year from a nuclear pact. Pictured: Iran's firepower in the Gulf

Tensions have escalated between the two countries ever since the US withdrew last year from a nuclear pact. Pictured: Iran’s firepower in the Gulf

The Pentagon released images of what it said was an Iranian military vessel mounting an operation to remove an unexploded limpet mine from a tanker’s hull. Four other tankers were damaged by explosives in the port of Fujairah in May.

Mr Hunt said: ‘We will stand by the United States as our strongest ally but of course we have to consider any requests for military support on a case-by-case basis.

‘We do strongly believe that the solution is for Iran to stop its destabilising activity throughout the Middle East and we are very concerned about the sabotaging of tankers that has happened recently, which is almost certainly Iran, and we’re constantly in touch with the United States.

‘We want to de-escalate the situation but we are of course extremely worried.’

Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted a map saying the drone – also widely used for carrying out military strikes – had entered his country’s airspace on May 26.

The map was dismissed as ‘child-like’ by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who pointed to detailed maps put out by American intelligence services which placed the drone in international airspace.

Mr Pompeo spoke on Sunday just before he departed for a trip to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, to key US allies, where he planned to build consensus on how to move forward on Iran.

‘We’ll be talking with them about how to make sure that we are all strategically aligned and how we can build out a global coalition’ on Iran, Pompeo said.

Mr Trump decided not to go ahead with the military strike after being told by Pentagon advisers that an estimated 150 Iranian personnel could be killed.

He tweeted that it would not be proportionate to the loss of an unmanned aircraft.

Yesterday US national security adviser John Bolton, who was meeting with Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu, cautioned Iran against misinterpreting the last-minute cancellation. 

‘Neither Iran nor any other hostile actor should mistake US prudence and discretion for weakness,’ Mr Bolton said in Jerusalem.

Mr Trump said at the weekend that new sanctions were being prepared against Iran.

The US special representative for Iran, Brian Hook, urged ‘all nations to use their diplomatic effort to urge Iran to de-escalate and meet diplomacy with diplomacy’. 

In recent weeks, hackers believed to be working for the Iranian government have targeted US government agencies, as well as sectors of the economy, including finance, oil and gas, by sending waves of ‘phishing’ emails, according to cybersecurity companies CrowdStrike and FireEye.

Washington has already mounted a full-scale cyber attack on Iran in the wake of an unmanned US drone being shot down. Pictured: US drone debris recovered from Iranian waters

Washington has already mounted a full-scale cyber attack on Iran in the wake of an unmanned US drone being shot down. Pictured: US drone debris recovered from Iranian waters

This campaign appears to have started shortly after the Trump administration imposed sanctions on Iranian petrochemicals. 

Following the drone attack and Trump’s aborted airstrikes, US media reported that an American cyber-attack on Iran had crippled missile systems and a spy network.

That was denied by telecommunications minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi who tweeted on Monday that no US attack had been successful.

‘The media are asking about the veracity of the alleged cyber attack against Iran.

‘No successful attack has been carried out by them, although they are making a lot of effort.

‘Last year we neutralised 33 million attacks with the (national) firewall.’

Both nations say they want to avoid going to war, but tensions have spiralled amid attacks on tankers and the shooting down of a US drone by Iran in the Gulf.

Abbas Mousavi, Iran’s foreign minister, said on Monday Tehran welcomes any defusion of tensions in the Gulf region, but did not suggest how this would happen. 

That message was undercut by navy commander Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi, who warned that Iran is capable of shooting down another US drone – if it chooses. 

‘I can assure you that this firm response can be repeated, and the enemy knows it,’ he told the Tasim news agency.

Meanwhile British foreign minister Andrew Murrison has just returned from a visit to Tehran for talks.

‘I reiterated the UK’s assessment that Iran almost certainly bears responsibility for recent attacks on tankers,’ said Dr Murrison.

‘Such activity, which carries a high risk of miscalculation, needs to stop to allow for immediate de-escalation of rising tensions.’

Mr Hunt made the comments today while campaigning in Scotland for the Conservative party leadership. 

And his supporters went a step further, with a senior cabinet minister describing Mr Johnson as a security risk. 

He made the comments in conversation with another cabinet minister, who relayed them to the Sunday Times.

‘There will be things in his private life that we don’t know about,’ the minister is reported as saying.