A third British warship, HMS Kent, set sail from Portsmouth on Monday morning, becoming the third Royal Navy vessel to make its way to the Gulf of Oman admit tensions with Iran.
Forces Network reported that the Type 23 frigate was initially due to patrol the region alone and provide regional maritime security. However, since the seizure of a British tanker in the Strait of Hormuz the warship will also be escorting British-flagged vessels through the Strait alongside HMS Montrose.
Along with the ship’s company, a wildcat helicopter and Royal Marines from 42 Commando who are specialists in ship protection and boarding operations are onboard.
Britain’s hopes of a European task force have not come together, so far, therefore the UK has increased its own presence and combined operations with the US.
Forces News spoke to Abdulaziz Alghashian, a Middle East expert from Essex University, about the current situation in the Gulf:
“As a result of these past months and the tensions of the past months, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp have been significantly emboldened.
“Therefore the likelihood of this, of a contact of some kind of exchange, an unwanted exchange, is becoming more and more likely.”
The aim is for HMS Kent, which is armed with sea captor missiles, to deter Iran from even trying to seize another tanker.
If these weapons have to be used, it would be a serious escalation.
Commander Andy Brown, Commanding Officer of HMS Kent, said: “We are committed to upholding freedom of navigation and reassuring international shipping, which this deployment on operations aims to do.”
As it stands, HMS Kent is due back in the UK around Christmas time, but things could change between then and now.
HMS Defender has also set sail on Monday.
The Type 45 destroyer departed for the Asian Pacific as part of the UK’s commitment to the peace and prosperity in the region.
However, she would be within an easy reach of the Gulf if she is needed.
Source: Forces Network
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 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. The Iranian regime has also captured a British ship and is holding its crew hostage whilst seeking further British vessels to capture.
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.”