Britain is rightly concerned about protecting its goods in the Strait of Hormuz, Defense Minister Penny Mordaunt said on Thursday following tensions with Iran over the passage of vessels in the Gulf.
Relations between Tehran and the West have been increasingly strained after Britain seized an Iranian tanker in Gibraltar and London said the British Heritage, operated by oil company BP, had been approached in the strait between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula.
“We are rightly concerned about protecting our goods in the Straits of Hormuz,” she said.
Britain urged Iran on Wednesday to ease tensions in the Gulf, while pledging to defend its shipping interests in the region.
Mordaunt, asked about a decision to send a third warship to the Gulf, said Britain had always been concerned about defending its interests in the Gulf and elsewhere.
“But it is vital that we send a very clear message to Iran that we want them to step back from this situation, that we want them to de-escalate, but we have always and we will continue to protect shipping and the free flow of goods in that area.”
Mordaunt was speaking at a defence conference about the latest naval deployment, which comes amid growing tensions with Iran after Royal Marines seized an Iranian tanker off the coast of Gibraltar earlier this month.