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Escalation appears back on in the Persian Gulf as the question of the "disappeared" UAE tanker remains unanswered, and as US intelligence officials point the finger at Iran's IRGC for "forcing" the tanker into Iranian waters just before its tracking transponder mysteriously switched off over two days ago.
And now Britain has announced it will send a third warship and a navy tanker to the gulf, even though the Ministry of Defence is downplaying tensions with Iran. "These long-planned movements do not reflect an escalation in the UK posture in the region and are routine," the MoD said as it announced that the HMS Duncan, a type 45 frigate, is transiting to the region for general maritime security, also as the currently deployed HMS Montrose undergoes maintenance. The HMS Kent is also said to have been freshly deployed, though it will take much longer to reach the Middle East.
Prime - Minister - Theresa - May - Office
Prime Minister Theresa May’s office said Tuesday that Britain wanted to avoid escalation. "Escalation in the Gulf is not in anyone’s interests and we have repeatedly stressed that to the Iranians,” May’s spokesman, James Slack, told reporters in London. However, Iranian officials had just days ago warned Britain to avoid sending more warships, saying it's playing a "dangerous game" in following the US lead of military build-up.
The prime minister's office remarks were in response to Iran's supreme leader warning on Tuesday that Iran's military is ready to retaliate if the UK doesn't immediately release its tanker which was boarded and detained by Royal Marines off Gibraltar earlier this month. The UK had accused the Panamanian-flagged vessel carrying 2 million barrels...
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