Britain is sending its newest and most-advanced warship to the Persian Gulf, the Press Association reported, amid increasing tensions with Iran over its threats to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz.
The deployment of the Type 45 destroyer HMS Daring had been planned for more than a year, the Defence Ministry confirmed.
But it comes as the United States, Britain, France and other countries have warned Iran against closing the strait – a vital international oil shipping route through which 35 per cent of global seaborne oil exports pass.
British Defence Secretary Philip Hammond warned Iran that any attempt to block the Strait of Hormuz would be ‘illegal and unsuccessful,’ and would be countered militarily if necessary, PA reported late Friday, Jan 6.
The navy commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said earlier Friday that Iran will hold another navy manoeuvre in the Persian Gulf in February. This follows a 10-day drill that ended January 2.
Iran maintains that the recent manoeuvre was solely aimed at strengthening security in the Persian Gulf.
Its threats to block the strait followed a fresh round of US sanctions, targeting Iran’s oil sector and main source of income, over its disputed nuclear programme.
A British Defence Ministry spokesman described the deployment as ‘long planned’ and ‘entirely routine,’ according to M&C.