The UK Foreign Office has entered “crisis mode” amid rising tensions between the US and Iran.
“We are going into crisis mode,” a Whitehall source told SkyNews, describing it, for now, as “pretty light touch”.
Crisis mode is a formal status at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in response to events. There is a crisis centre within the department, with screens, computers and secure telephone lines to enable staff to keep in contact contacts with missions and diplomats in the region affected.
Depending on the level of crisis, staffing can be increased to 24 hours per day at the centre, with senior officials brought in to direct operations. It also means additional reports and updates on the situation will be produced.
It comes in response to the United States sending an aircraft carrier strike group, B-52 bombers and a patriot missile defence battering to the Gulf.
On Friday, Britain raised the threat level for UK forces and diplomats in Iraq because of what sources say is a heightened security risk from Iran.
According to Sky News, the UK has also put its personnel and their families in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar on an increased state of alert.
On May 8, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned world powers that unless they shield the country’s collapsing economy from crippling U.S. sanctions within 60 days, Iran would start enriching uranium at higher levels.
“If the five countries join negotiations and help Iran to reach its benefits in the field of oil and banking, Iran will return to its commitments according to the nuclear deal,” Rouhani said.
While EU foreign ministers insisted that they were still committed to the nuclear deal, they rejected any ultimatums from Tehran. The U.S. imposed further sanctions on Iran following those threats, this time on the country’s metals industry.