On July 28th, a second British Royal Navy warship arrived in the Persian Gulf to escort vessels sailing under UK flag through the Strait of Hormuz.
The Type 45 destroyer HMS Duncan will work together with HMS Montrose, at least for a while, since the latter is to come off duty in August and depart the Persian Gulf.
Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said:
“Freedom of Navigation in the Strait of Hormuz is vital not just to the UK, but also our international partners and allies. Merchant ships must be free to travel lawfully and trade safely, anywhere in the world. I’m pleased that HMS DUNCAN will continue HMS MONTROSE’S fine work in helping to secure this essential route.
While we continue to push for a diplomatic resolution that will make this possible again without military accompaniment, the Royal Navy will continue to provide a safeguard for UK vessels until this is the reality.”
Commander Tom Trent, the Commanding Officer of HMS DUNCAN, said:
“HMS DUNCAN has arrived in the Strait of Hormuz to continue the outstanding work to protect British maritime interests conducted by HMS MONTROSE and the United Kingdom Maritime Component Commander’s staff in Bahrain. HMS DUNCAN has shown the true flexibility of the Royal Navy by moving at pace to this area of operations.
We have relocated from an intense deployment in the Mediterranean and Black Sea, which included support to the French carrier strike group with live operations in Syria. The Royal Navy continues to deliver consistent, enduring and world-class capability in the region – HMS DUNCAN is proud to support this vital operation and ready to play her part.”
Thus, the purpose isn’t to specifically have two warships constantly in the Persian Gulf. Later in 2019, the type 23 Frigate, HMS Kent will take over the assignment from the HMS Duncan.
It should be noted that HMS Montrose will simply stop escorting ships, but it will remain in the Middle East through to 2022.
This is all part of the UK’s operation KIPION, which is allegedly the British “commitment to promoting peace and stability as well as ensuring the safe flow of trade, and countering narcotics and piracy.”
On Iran’s side, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi told MPs that Iran would restart activities at the Arak heavy water nuclear reactor, the ISNA news agency reported.
This was based on the claim of an unmentioned member of parliament.
ISNA on July 7th reported that Iran was beginning to increase the level of its uranium enrichment to a level beyond the 3.67% limit set by the accord.
On July 28th, Seyyed Abbas Araghchi, the deputy minister of foreign affairs at the end of the JCPOA’s Joint Commission meeting told reporters:
“Today’s meeting of Joint Commission of the JCPOA was held to address complaints by both sides, from Iran and the three European countries, on how to implement the JCPOA.”
He emphasized that good discussions were held at this meeting and each party presented its logic, noting:
“We witness some development on implementing the JCPOA in the last month; the IAEA’s report on reducing Iran’s commitments and those in regard to failure of European countries to fulfill their obligations.”
Following the meeting, the Russian Permanent Representative to the International Organizations in Vienna and the International Atomic Energy Agency Mikhail Ulyanov tweeted the following:
The meeting of the Joint Commission on #JCPOA in Vienna on 28 July demonstrated that the new government in the #UK remains committed to #IranDeal and stands ready to contribute to its further implementation. This is important for keeping sustainability of the agreement.
— Mikhail Ulyanov (@Amb_Ulyanov) July 29, 2019
3 major results of Joint Comission on #JCPOA meeting on 28July: decision to continue work on sanctions-lifting;reaffirmation of collective responsibility for nuclear projects -in Arak(led by China&UK)and Fordow(led by Russia); Ministerial meeting will be convined in near future.
— Mikhail Ulyanov (@Amb_Ulyanov) July 28, 2019
He further emphasized that the US sanctions were affecting the Iran Nuclear Deal negatively, but that the commitment to all other signatories was certain.
The Joint Commission on #JCPOA discussed in Vienna on July 28 the current state of affairs with special emphasis on nuclear and economic aspects of #IranDeal. It is obvious that US sanctions negatively affect implementation. However all participants are fully committed to JCPOA.
— Mikhail Ulyanov (@Amb_Ulyanov) July 28, 2019
Separately, in relation to safety in the Strait of Hormuz, Oman’s Foreign Minister Yusuf Bin Alawi bin Abdullah said that the country has been cooperating with Iran for shipping through the chokepoint.
“We have never been mediating and what is important for us is the stability of maritime navigation in the Strait of Hormuz, that’s why we are in talks with others,” said bin Alawi.
“There is cooperation between Tehran and Muscat about organizing shipping in the Strait of Hormuz,” he added, stressing that “all sides need to be in contact not to politically influence the international maritime operations in the Persian Gulf”.
Finally, Iran is to take part in the International Army Games. An official at Iran’s Navy said 44 Iranian naval officers are already in Russia to take part at the event that will be held on the territory of 10 countries from August 3rd.
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