Britain on Thursday urged Iran to “de-escalate” after armed military vessels tried to seize a BP-operated oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz – backing off only after warnings from a British warship.
“HMS Montrose was forced to position herself between the Iranian vessels and British Heritage and issue verbal warnings to the Iranian vessels, which then turned away,” the British government said in a statement.
“We are concerned by this action and continue to urge the Iranian authorities to de-escalate the situation in the region,” the statement continued.
The incident occurred nearly a week after the British Royal Marines boarded and seized an Iranian tanker off Gibraltar believing it was violating European Union sanctions by shipping oil to Syria.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday warned Britain that it would face “consequences” for seizing the vessel.
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps denied any involvement with the British tanker.
President Trump called off a military strike against Iran last month after Iran downed an unmanned US surveillance drone.
The US has also been accused of attacking two oil tankers in the Gulf of Hormuz last month in an effort to disrupt international shipping in the region.
Washington has ramped up its military presence in the Persian Gulf in recent months, sending the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group, jet fighters, B-52 bombers and Patriot anti-missile batteries to Qatar.
The incident involving the British Heritage unfolds as Iran has exceed the caps on enriched uranium set by the 2015 nuclear accord as it pressures European powers to provide sanction relief.
Trump withdrew from the deal last year and reimposed economic penalties against Tehran.
Britain, France, Germany, the European Union, Russia and China are the remaining parties in the deal.
With Post Wires