Great Britain is heading for a naval mission under European leadership in the Persian Gulf. It must guarantee the safety of shipping in the region, where Iran has seized a British tanker. The Netherlands has also been approached to participate in the mission, reports the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Earlier the Americans also asked our country for a contribution to promote safe passage for ships in the Strait of Hormuz. The government is still investigating whether that is possible and desirable.
Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt informed the British parliament about the plan following a meeting of the COBR crisis committee. “We want to set up this mission as quickly as possible,” said the minister. He accused Iran of “state piracy”.
Iranian men took hold of the Stena Impero tanker on Friday, after the Iranian tanker Grace 1 had previously been chained to the British territory of Gibraltar. That vessel is said to have been en route to Syria with crude oil, thereby violating European sanctions.
Hunt stressed that the new maritime mission will not be part of US policy of exerting “maximum pressure” on Iran. Washington has withdrawn from the agreement on the Tehran nuclear program and has again imposed severe sanctions.
“We are sticking to the nuclear agreement with Iran,” the minister said, stressing that his government does not want to increase the tension.
“If Iran continues on this dangerous path, they must accept that the price is that there will be a greater Western military presence in the waters off their coast.”
Iranian Minister Mohammad Zarif (Foreign Affairs) said during a visit to Nicaragua that the British tanker was stopped because the ship did not comply with the rules. Zarif also stated that his country is not after confrontation, but wants normal relationships based on mutual respect.