British Defense Secretary Threatens Military Retaliation if Strait is Closed
Britain’s Defense Secretary Philip Hammond warned Iran today that the UK would respond militarily if Tehran tries to close the Strait of Hormuz in retaliation over sanctions. Britain considers any action by Iran to close the strait as “illegal and unsuccessful,” the secretary said, insisting that western navies in the Persian Gulf must ensure the free flow of oil trade [Financial Times, 5 January].
Mr. Hammond is in Washington today for meetings with US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and senior Pentagon officals. He made his comments during a speech to the Atlantic Council in Washington.
Britain’s Royal Navy is part of a combined maritime forces fleet which is based in Bahrain and has deployed mine countermeasure vessels in the Persian Gulf.