Iranian boats tried to block our tanker in the Gulf, says U.K.

Forced to back off by a British warship, Defence Ministry says; Tehran denies it
A British warship forced three Iranian boats to back off after they sought to block a British tanker from passing through the Strait of Hormuz, the Defence Ministry said on Thursday, in the latest escalation of tensions between Tehran and the West. “Contrary to international law, three Iranian vessels attempted to impede the passage of a commercial vessel, British Heritage , through the Strait of Hormuz,” the British government said. “We are concerned by this action and continue to urge the Iranian authorities to de-escalate the situation in the region.” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani derided Britain as recently as Wednesday for its decision to send its warships to escort commercial vessels through the Gulf. Calling Britain “scared” and “hopeless,” Mr. Rouhani warned that, “You, Britain, are the initiator of insecurity and you will realize the consequences later.” In its statement on Thursday, the British government said three Iranian boats had attempted to stop the British Heritage in the early morning as it headed toward the Strait of Hormuz, a vital channel for international oil supplies. A British warship, the Montrose , had been escorting the tanker to guard against Iranian interference. After a short standoff, the British warned the three Iranian boats to back away and they did, the British government said in its statement. “ H.M.S. 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,” the Defence Ministry said in a statement.

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