The UK Government announced yesterday that the Royal Navy will escort British-flagged ships passing through the Strait of Hormuz.
In a statement, the Government said: “Freedom of navigation is crucial for the global trading system and world economy, and we will do all we can to defend it. The Department for Transport has therefore updated its advice to confirm that the Royal Navy has been tasked to accompany British-flagged ships through the Strait of Hormuz, either individually or in groups, should sufficient notice be given of their passage.”
According to the Ministry of Defence, the type-23 frigate HMS Montrose has already escorted two merchant vessels travelling together through the Strait. The type-45 destroyer, HMS Duncan, is expected to arrive in the area next week and ensure a constant naval presence for the UK in the Gulf.
Ships might be grouped together in de facto convoys or accompanied individually depending upon how many are travelling on a given day, according to sources.
This announcement comes amid growing tensions with Iran in the Gulf following the seizure of the British-flagged tanker, Stena Impero, by Iran last Friday. The decision to provide a military escort to merchant shipping does not reflect a change of policy under new Prime Minister Boris Johnson, as the UK Government has reportedly been working on the plan for days.
The UK proposed the creation of a European-led maritime protection mission earlier this week, but despite Germany and France supporting calls for improving maritime security in the Gulf, they have yet to commit to providing any military assets.
Iran is targeting Britain after Royal Marines helped to seize an Iranian supertanker off the coast of Gibraltar at the start of the month. The ship was breaching EU sanctions and travelling in EU waters when it was seized. Iran have reacted to this act with aggression against civilian ships, including threats and ultimately piracy when they illegally captured the British vessel.
Iran’s actions clearly show the nature of a regime that is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism in the world.
CUFI calls on the UK to “End the Iran Deal”
Christians United for Israel UK is calling upon the British government to end its involvement in the Iran Nuclear Deal after “multiple breaches by the regime”.
The petition, launched on Thursday as part of CUFI’s on-going Operation Mordecai campaign, accuses Iran of failing to show any evidence of reform since the deal was made in 2015 and says the Join Plan of Action (JCPOA) provides no credible solution.
It follows the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirming this week that Iran has now exceeded the agreed limit on its stockpile of low-enriched uranium. The regime has also vowed to continue enrichment to “any amount we want” – moving Iran closer to a nuclear weapon.
CUFI UK Director, Des Starritt, says “The United Kingdom is ‘urgently considering next steps’ but remains one of five countries still part of the deal after the US withdrew and imposed new sanctions.”
“The UK must choose to stop supporting the aggressive terrorist funding Iranian regime and make a stand in solidarity with our closest allies – Israel and the United States.”