UK sends second warship to region to protect its oil tankers

World Today

The U.K. is beefing up its military presence in the Persian Gulf.

A second warship is now heading there,  following a confrontation at sea between Iranian boats and a British oil tanker near the Strait of Hormuz.

CGTN’s Giles Gibson reports.

The HMS Duncan is leaving the Mediterranean Sea and steaming towards the Persian Gulf.

The 8,000 ton British Navy air defense destroyer is expected join HMS Montrose in the region next week.

 The U.K. government said the HMS Montrose recently drove off boats from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps after they tried to impede a British oil tanker – an accusation Iran denies.

U.K. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said his country’s navy will protect British assets in the Gulf.

“Obviously, very concerning developments. But also I’m very proud of the Royal Navy and the role that they played in keeping British assets, British shipping safe. We are continuing to monitor the situation very, very carefully,” Hunt said.

At Friday prayers in Tehran, senior Iranian cleric Ayatollah Kazem Seddighi warned the U.K. government to back off: “You, dear people, have every right to have expectations and I can assure you that with God’s will this insolence, inattention and negligence of the English will receive a huge blow from the hands of our powerful order soon so that they will forever regret their actions.”

The dispute between the U.K. and Iran is bubbling up as the Trump administration tries to increase pressure on Tehran to scrap its nuclear program.

Soon after Trump delivered his warning to Iran, the U.S. House of Representatives had a warning for him.

On Friday, the House approved a measure that would bar the President from authorizing a military strike on Iran without congressional approval.

But with Republicans still in charge of the U.S. Senate, the vote is highly unlikely to progress beyond a symbolic rebuke of the Commander-in-Chief.