The instability in the Middle-East seems to be degenerating on a daily basis, as Iran seized a British flagged tanker, in the Strait of Hormuz.
Reacting to the seizure, the United Kingdom (UK) government said that it is “deeply concerned” about Iran’s “unacceptable” seizure.
Britain’s Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, warned of “serious consequences”, if the situation is not resolved quickly.
Iran said that the ship was “violating international maritime rules”. The tanker, Stena Impero, was seized on Friday, by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, according to Fars News Agency.
TOS TV gathered that the British government’s Emergency Committee, Cobra, met in Whitehall twice, on Friday, in response to the crisis.
A Spokeswoman told the BBC, that the government was “deeply concerned about Iran’s unacceptable actions”, saying that they “represent a clear challenge to international freedom of navigation”.
“We have advised the UK shipping to stay out of the area, for an interim period”, the Spokeswoman added.
Earlier, Mr. Hunt, who attended the Cobra meeting, said that the seizures were “completely unacceptable”, and “freedom of navigation must be maintained”.
“We are absolutely clear that if this situation is not resolved quickly, there will be serious consequences”, he noted.
“We are not looking at Military options. We are looking at a diplomatic way to resolve this situation, but we are very clear that it must be resolved.”
Labour Leader, Jeremy Corbyn, said: “The seizure of these vessels is unacceptable, and the tanker that remains under Iranian control must be released. Escalation risks a slide into an even deeper conflict.”
Meanwhile, United States (US) President, Donald Trump, responded to the developments, by saying he would talk to the UK. Also, the US Central Command, which is responsible for Washington’s security interests across the Middle-East, said that it was developing a multinational maritime effort in response to the situation.
Operation Sentinel will increase surveillance of, and security in key waterways in the Middle-East, to ensure freedom of navigation, it said.
The US Military, stated it wants to promote maritime stability, ensure safe passage, and de-escalate tensions in international waters throughout the Arabian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, and the Gulf of Oman.
These latest incidents came amid heightened tensions between the UK, the US, and Iran. Earlier this month, Royal Marines helped seize an Iranian tanker off Gibraltar, which was suspected of carrying oil to Syria, in breach of EU sanctions.
In response to the seizure, Iran threatened to seize a British oil tanker. On 9th July, the UK raised the threat to British shipping in Iranian waters, in the Gulf.
A day later, Iranian boats attempted to impede a British oil tanker in the region, before being warned off by a Royal Navy ship, according to the Ministry of Defence. Iran denied any attempted seizure.