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WorldThreat level raised for UK ships in Iranian waters

01:50  12 july  2019
01:50  12 july  2019 Source:   bbc.com

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The UK has raised the threat to British shipping in Iranian waters in the Gulf to the highest level - where the risk of attack is "critical". The step was taken on Tuesday, amid growing tensions in the region.

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Threat level raised for UK ships in Iranian waters © Reuters HMS Montrose was shadowing a British tanker as it moved into the Strait of Hormuz

The UK has raised the threat to British shipping in Iranian waters in the Gulf to the highest level.

The step was taken on Tuesday, amid growing tensions in the region.

On Wednesday, Iranian boats tried to impede a British oil tanker in the region - before being driven off by a Royal Navy ship, the Ministry of Defence said.

Iran had threatened to retaliate for the seizure of one of its own tankers but denied any attempted seizure.

The Department for Transport said it regularly provided security advice to UK ships in high-risk areas.

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The UK has raised the security level for British ships in the Persian Gulf to the highest state of alert and is sending a second warship to the region as UK raises threat level and sends second warship to Persian Gulf as Iran tensions simmer. By Nick Paton Walsh, Sam Kiley, Hira Himayun, Schams

Today, the UK government raised the threat level for British shipping in the Straits of Hormuz to its highest rating. Vessels are advised to travel in the area only during daylight hours, and at a faster pace. We hear the view from the US about this situation. Also on the programme, Colombian farmers are

Boats believed to belong to Iran's Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) approached the British Heritage tanker and tried to bring it to a halt as it was moving out of the Gulf into the Strait of Hormuz.

HMS Montrose, a British frigate shadowing the BP-owned tanker, was forced to move between the three boats and the ship, a Ministry of Defence spokesman said.

He described the Iranians' actions as "contrary to international law".

Guns on HMS Montrose were trained on the Iranian boats as they were ordered to back off, US media reported. The boats heeded the warning and no shots were fired.

Last week, British Royal Marines helped the authorities in Gibraltar seize an Iranian tanker because of evidence it was carrying oil to Syria in breach of EU sanctions.

Iran threatens British shipping in retaliation for tanker seizure

Iran threatens British shipping in retaliation for tanker seizure Iran threatens British shipping in retaliation for tanker seizure

The government is advising UK shipping to stay out of the area. Defence minister Tobias Ellwood told Sky News sanctions against Iran were among the options being Threat level raised to 'critical' for UK ships in Iranian waters . 11 July 2019. Gulf crisis: Are we heading for a new tanker war?

However, the UK 's decision to help seize the Iranian tanker Grace 1 off Gibraltar earlier this month infuriated Iran . On Friday, Gibraltar granted a 30-day extension to allow authorities to continue detaining the tanker, which was suspected of Threat level raised to 'critical' for UK ships in Iranian waters .

A spokesman for the Royal Gibraltar Police said they had arrested the Indian captain and chief officer of the Iranian tanker on Thursday, on suspicion of breaching EU sanctions, but neither had been charged.

Threat level raised for UK ships in Iranian waters © BBC

The BBC has been told British Heritage was near the island of Abu Musa when it was approached by the Iranian boats.

Although Abu Musa is in disputed territorial waters, HMS Montrose remained in international waters throughout.

Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt said the government was concerned by the incident and urged the Iranian authorities to "de-escalate the situation".

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt added the UK would monitor the situation "very carefully".

Prime Minister Theresa May's official spokesman said the government was "committed to maintaining freedom of navigation in accordance with international law".

What does Iran say?

The navy of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guard Corps has denied claims it tried to seize the tanker, Iranian news agencies reported. IRGC's navy said there had been no confrontation with any foreign vessels in the past 24 hours.

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The UK has raised the threat to British shipping in Iranian waters in the Gulf to the highest level . The step was taken on Tuesday, amid growing tensions in the region. On Wednesday, Iranian boats tried to impede a British oil tanker in the region – before being driven off by a Royal Navy ship

Threat level raised for UK ships in Iranian waters . The Iranians deny the loss. So the first order of business is to try to calm tensions and avoid escalation. Image caption Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has made it clear that way ahead will rely upon diplomacy not force.

Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the UK made the claims "for creating tension".

"These claims have no value," Mr Zarif added, according to the Fars news agency.

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