Downing Street has repeated its calls for Iran to immediately release a British-flagged tanker that was seized in the Gulf on Friday.
Prime Minister Theresa May has chaired the government’s emergency committee Cobra to receive updates and discuss security in the area.
Her official spokesman described the seizure of the ship as “unacceptable and highly escalatory”. It comes amid reports ministers are considering freezing Iranian assets.
Britain called on Monday for a European-led naval mission to ensure safe shipping through the Strait of Hormuz.
Further, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said “There cannot be compromise on freedom of navigation in the Strait of Hormuz and Britain can work with the United States on its approach to the issue despite their differing views on the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, British.”
“When it comes to freedom of navigation, there can be no compromise, and We will seek to establish this mission as quickly as possible,” he said, adding: “It will not be part of the US maximum pressure policy on Iran”.
The British announcement signals a potential shift from Washington’s major European allies, who so far have been cool to US requests that they beef up their military presence in the Gulf, for fear of feeding confrontation.
On Friday, the Stena Impero was seized by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in the key shipping route of the Strait of Hormuz after Tehran said it was “violating international maritime rules”, marks escalating tensions between the UK and Iran