Iran 'must pay the price' for attack says Gardiner
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The British special forces team have been deployed to the region, as the UK and allies devise a cyber strike retaliation. The Asphalt Princess tanker has been seized by Iranian forces according to three maritime forces, however Iran denies this.
The tanker is currently safe as it was seized off the coast of the UAE by British forces.
A US military ship is also expected to be sent to monitor the situation.
The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) said the potential hijack incident is “complete”in a warning notice but did not name the vessel involved.
Refinitiv ship tracking data and AIS tracking showed that the Asphalt Princess was “Underway Using Engine” on Wednesday morning.
The tanker was in the Arabian Sea leading to the Strait of Hormuz, which is also the channel for a fifth of the world’s sea-borne oil exports.
Since an attack last week on an Israeli tanker that killed two crew members was blamed on Iran by the US, Israel and Britain, tensions remain at the surface.
However, Iran denies responsibility for the deaths.
On Tuesday Iran’s senior armed forces spokesman, Abolfazl Shekarchi, denied the many incidents at sea and hijacking in the Gulf area as “a kind of psychological warfare and setting the stage for new bouts of adventurism”.
The coast of Oman remains a contested and busy area of ocean occupation.
As tensions rise, hijacking may too, causing British and American forces to remain on guard.
08:58 UK's military chief, says Iran made a "big mistake"
On Radio 4 today, General Sir Nick Carter, the UK’s military chief, says Iran made a “big mistake” by attacking an Israeli-linked tanker off Oman, killing a UK national & a Romanian, & warned “ultimately we have got to restore deterrence”.
The UK Chief of the Defence Staff said: “What we need to be doing fundamentally is calling out Iran for very reckless behaviour.
“They made a big mistake on the attack they did against the Mercer Street vessel last week because that has very much internationalised the state of play in the Gulf.”
“We will work out with our allies what is the best way of providing protection [to international shipping in the Gulf] and convoys may not necessarily be the right method. We have used other methods and we will think and keep reviewing our way of keeping this happening.
“But ultimately we’ve got to restore deterrence because it’s behaviour like that [Iran’s alleged tanker attack] which leads to escalation & that could v easily lead to miscalculation & that would be v disastrous for all the people’s of the Gulf & the international community.”
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