January 25, 2012

Britain says it could bolster military presence in the Gulf

(PTI) Britain today said it could send more military forces including warships to the strait of Hormuz to deter any moves by Iran to block the Persian Gulf oil traffic. "An escalation of a dispute with Iran could see Britain sending military reinforcements to the Gulf", the British Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said. Hammond told reporters here that two British and French warships and the American aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln had entered the Gulf on Sunday to show Tehran that any interference with global shipping would not be tolerated. The British announcement came as Iranian leaders in Tehran have threatened to close off the straits, through which passes one-fifth of the world's oil, against EU sanctions on its oil exports. "The UK has a contingent capability to reinforce its presence in the region should at any time it be considered necessary to do so", the Secretary said. Hammad made the remarks at a news conference following the annual round of talks between UK and Australia on security and international issues, BBC reported. In a hard hitting measure, the European Union yesterday slapped sanctions to ban all new oil contracts with Iran and freeze the country's central bank assets in the EU. (MORE) PTI SSB AKD

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