Thank you for your reading and interest in the news UK Royal Navy chief warns ‘aggressive’ Iranian threat persists and now with details
Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Possible Iranian attacks on shipping in the Strait of Hormuz remain a threat, Britain’s most senior naval officer has warned as he said Britain will retain a heightened military presence in the Arabian gulf.
Admiral Tony Radakin, who became Britain’s First Sea Lord earlier this year, said the Iranian threat, which he characterised as “aggressive” and “outrageous”, had “not gone away” in an interview with the BBC.
The UK naval head said it was his hope that Britain would be able to “de-escalate” tensions in Iran following the release of the British flagged Stena Impero which was seized by Iran in July.
He added, however, that the Royal Navy would retain its current, high level of military presence in the region for now.
"We have to react to when a nation is as aggressive as Iran was,” Mr Radakin said.
"It was an outrageous act that happened on the high seas and that's why we have responded the way that we have," he added.
Leading British government and military officials have been deeply critical of the UK’s preparedness in the face of the Iranian threat at the time of the Stena Impero’s seizure.
Mr Radakin’s predecessor Adm Lord West said the British response had been poor.
Former Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt, who was in post at the time of the seizure, said her attempts to have the Iranian threat to shipping in the Arabian Gulf addressed by her own government had been ignored.
The seizure of the British flagged vessel was largely interpreted as a tit-for-tat measure by Iran in response to British forces’ detention of the Adrian Darya-1 — previously called Grace One — which was held on suspicion of breaking EU sanctions on Syria in earlier in July.
Despite the likelihood of a response from Tehran, the UK only had one vessel, the HMS Montrose, stationed nearby in July, when the seizure took place. The frigate has since been replaced by the destroyer HMS Defender.
Mr Radakin has also addressed UK strategy in the Gulf Arabia. He has said Britain will continue to support the US-led coalition, known as "Operation Sentinel" around the Strait of Hormuz and would not join a rival operation being created by France.
He welcomed the French initiative but praised the effective partnership between the US and the UK in the Arabian Gulf saying there were "very simple practical reasons" to remain part of the US-led initiative.
Updated: December 17, 2019 06:12 PM
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