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Peace campaigners warn against ‘gunboat diplomacy’ as Gulf tensions rise

ANTI-WAR activists warned against “gunboat diplomacy” today as tensions in the Gulf intensified.

The Royal Navy drove off three Iranian vessels that tried to stop a commercial tanker from travelling through the Strait of Hormuz.

The escalation came a day after Iran spoke out against Britain due to the seizure of a supertanker believed to be breaching EU sanctions by carrying a shipment of crude oil to Syria.

“Contrary to international law, three Iranian vessels attempted to impede the passage of a commercial vessel, British Heritage, through the Strait of Hormuz,” a Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesman said.

“HMS Montrose was forced to position herself between the Iranian vessels and British Heritage and issue verbal warnings to the Iranian vessels, which then turned away.

“We are concerned by this action and continue to urge the Iranian authorities to deescalate the situation in the region.”

Stop the War Coalition convenor Lindsey German said “gunboat diplomacy is back in the Gulf” and warned there was a risk of escalation.

“This or any other incident can blow up into something much bigger, and we should be aware of what that would represent," she said.

“We have seen the way that Boris Johnson has behaved towards Trump, most recently over his refusal to back the British ambassador to Washington.

“It is inconceivable that he will do anything as prime minister other than back Trump.

“We in Britain therefore have a major job to do — to spread the word about where this conflict lies and to oppose any war, and our government’s support for it.”

Downing Street said the security situation in the Gulf is being closely monitored.



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