The UK’s Royal Navy to deploy 100 Elite Royal Marines to the Persian Gulf, following an alleged attack on two tankers, the Sunday Times reported on June 16th.
Elite soldiers from 42 Commando will leave their Plymouth barracks to form Special Purpose Task Group 19, deploying on Royal Navy ships from Britain’s new Bahraini base.
It is unclear how many Royal Marines would be deployed in reality, since a day earlier the Daily Mail reported that 30 Elite Royal Marines would be sent to the Persian Gulf to take part in a training exercise.
‘This is a pre-planned training deployment and is in no way related to the ongoing situation in the Gulf of Oman,’ a MOD spokesman said, cited by the Daily Mail.
Regardless, according to the Sunday Times, the marines are expected to arrive in Bahrain “within weeks” as well as a team of British experts to assist in investigating precisely what materials were used in the tanker attacks.
UK defence minister and MP Tobias Ellwood told Sky’s Ridge on June 16th: “We have a substantial presence in the Middle East that looks after our interests there. We understand the Middle East, we have a number of allies there as well.”
He said that the deployment would be made in coordination with the US forces already present in the region:
“We will be working with the United States to make sure this area is safe and to make sure that we actually deescalate the tensions there but I don’t think Iran should be under any doubt [about] that fact that we will be determined to protect our assets and our interests in the region.”
This followed a report by Iranian outlet ISNA, which claimed that the Iranian Foreign Ministry had summoned the UK ambassador Rob Macaire over the “unacceptable” accusations levelled by London against Tehran.
Assistant Foreign Minister for Europe, Mahmoud Barimani said that Tehran expresses strong protest to Britain’s unacceptable anti-Iran stance.
“In the [closed-door] meeting of the UN Security Council last Thursday, no one but the UK accepted the unsubstantiated accusation levelled by Washington,” said Barimani.
“Even many well-known media outlets rejected the claim by the US and Britain, citing statements by the crew and authorities at the company which owns the tankers,” he said.
“The popular reactions against Britain emanate from such approaches adopted by this country in support of US officials’ unfounded allegations about different issues, including the issue mentioned above,” he said.
He urged the British government to adopt realistic stances which conform to the realities of the policies adopted by the Islamic Republic of Iran and the need for London to revisit its approach.
On the US side, on June 16th, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News Sunday that despite there allegedly being no doubt that Iran attacked the tankers, and that there is “lots of data, lots of evidence,” to back it up.
He said that Washington will guarantee free navigation through vital shipping areas.
“The United States is going make sure that we take all the actions necessary, diplomatic and otherwise that achieve that outcome,” Pompeo said.
The only evidence so far is a grainy video that barely shows anything conclusive, even Japan requested more evidence to substantiate the claims that Iran carried out the attacks.
Nonetheless, Pompeo said that Trump and the White House didn’t want war with Iran.
“President Trump has done everything he can to avoid war. We don’t want war,” he said. “The United States is going make sure that we take all the actions necessary, diplomatic and otherwise that achieve that outcome,” Pompeo added.
Despite the claims, the rapid deployments in the Persian Gulf by Western forces and the primed Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps of Iran at a high state of alert, a possible misstep that escalates the situation towards war may simple be around the corner.
On June 16th, Iran’s Parliament Speaker, Ali Larijani said that the attacks on the tankers in the Gulf of Oman were “suspicious” and a “complementary” to United States’ economic sanctions against Iranian nation.
Commenting on the oil taker attacks in the Gulf of Oman, Larijani said, “The suspicious action against oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman seems like a complementary measure to economic sanctions (against Iran), because they (US and its allies) gained nothing from the sanctions, especially given the US history in World War II, showing Washington had attacked its own ships near the Japanese soil to justify hostility against Japan”.
Mocking US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo’s recent statement advising Iran to use “diplomacy” to respond to political and diplomatic measures, the official said, “This is really funny”. Mentioning US’ sanctions against Iranian nation, he said, “Is violating commitments within Iran’s nuclear deal and waging an economic war against our nation a political measure? Are US actions against the Venezuelan President a diplomatic and political measure? Are the arm sales to Saudi Arabia against Yemenis and comprehensive support to the Zionists against Palestinians a political action?”
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Smoking Gun? False Flag? U.S. Releases Video Allegedly Showing Iran’s Mine On Tanker Hull
- What Is Behind Attacks On Tankers In Persian Gulf Region