ROYAL NAVY WARSHIP SEES OFF IRANIANS

Faslane frigate gives protection to British oil tanker in Strait of Hormuz

By Emily Mee, Sky News reporter

HMS Montrose provided added protection to the tanker. File pic

HMS Montrose provided added protection to the tanker. 
Picture by the Royal Navy

Three Iranian boats tried to stop a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, the Ministry of Defence has said.

The boats withdrew after a warning from a British warship, HMS Montrose, which had recently been heading for the Clyde Naval Base at Faslane on the Gareloch.

In a statement, the UK government said it was “concerned” by the incident and urged Iranian authorities “to de-escalate the situation in the region”.

Hassan Rouhani has said the White House is 'afflicted with mental retardation'
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had warned the UK of ‘consequences’
A government spokesman said: “Contrary to international law, three Iranian vessels attempted to impede the passage of a commercial vessel, British Heritage, through the Strait of Hormuz.

“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.

However, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard denied claims of a confrontation, saying if it had received orders to seize any ships it would have executed them immediately.

A statement from the Guard’s navy said “there were no clashes with alien boats, especially English boats”.

Initial reports from US officials suggested that five Iranian vessels were involved in the incident.

“The Royal Navy HMS Montrose, which was also there, pointed its guns at the boats and warned them over radio, at which point they dispersed,” one of the officials said.

“It was harassment and an attempt to interfere with the passage,” another official said.

Three Iranian boats tried to stop a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz

The Iranian boats tried to stop a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, the MoD said

The incident comes as the HMS Montrose warship was said to be offering extra protection to British Heritage in the Gulf following a threat from Iran to seize a British vessel.

Tensions have been rising since Royal Marines helped seize an Iranian-flagged tanker in Gibraltar which was allegedly carrying oil to Syria, in breach of European Union sanctions.

The capture of the Grace 1 tanker prompted Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to warn the UK of “consequences”.

“You (Britain) are the initiator of insecurity and you will realise the consequences later,” Rouhani said after a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, according to the semi-official news agency Tasnim.

Brigadier General Amir Hatami also warned the UK its actions “will not go without a response”.

Royal Marines have boarded an oil tanker on its way to Syria thought to be breaching EU sanctions,

The capture of the Grace 1 tanker prompted Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to warn the UK of “consequences”.

Tehran claimed the detention was an “illegal interception” and have demanded the tanker’s release.

But Gibraltar officials believe the 330m (1,000ft) tanker could have been carrying up to two million barrels of oil destined for Syria.

Iran has denied this and said the boat was headed “somewhere else”.

Gibraltar’s supreme court ruled last week the tanker could be held for another 14 days, the territory’s attorney general said.

The US has been leading a push for allies and other tankers that use the Strait of Hormuz to increase their maritime security in the region, safeguarding strategic waters off Iran and Yemen.

It alleges that Tehran was behind attacks on six oil tankers in the area.

Relations between the two countries have fractured since President Donald Trump pulled the US out of a nuclear deal with Iran and re-imposed sanctions.

HMS Montrose on the Gareloch at Helensburgh.jpg

HMS Montrose pictured in the Gareloch being escorted by tugs to Faslane.


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