posted on Jan, 4 2012 @ 03:04 PM
i have posted the article for those that will not have access
the moves are being played
''Britain will on Thursday join the US in warning that any action by Iran to close the Strait of Hormuz would be “illegal and unsuccessful,”
insisting that western navies in the Gulf must ensure the free flow of oil trade.
Amid signs that the European Union has now agreed in principle to ban oil imports from Iran this month, Philip Hammond, Britain’s defence secretary,
will warn the Iranians that the UK would respond militarily if Tehran tries to close the strait in retaliation over sanctions.
As he prepares to hold his first meeting in Washington on Thursday with Leon Panetta, the US defence secretary, Mr Hammond will say in a speech that
it is in the interests of all nations “that the arteries of global trade are kept free, opening and running.”
He will add: “Disruption to the flow of oil through Strait of Hormuz would threaten regional and global economic growth. Any attempt by Iran to do
this would be illegal and unsuccessful.”
Alongside the US, British military chiefs say they are paying careful attention to Iran’s threat to close the strait, noting that there is a strong
UK naval presence in the region.
According to UK officials, Britain’s Royal Navy plays a substantial role as part of the combined maritime forces fleet which has its headquarters in
Bahrain and operates to contain terrorism and piracy at sea. The UK also assists with mine countermeasure vessels which help maintain freedom of
navigation in the Gulf.
It emerged on Wednesday that EU governments have reached a preliminary agreement to ban imports of Iranian crude to the bloc but have yet to decide
when such an embargo would be put in place.
Diplomats said EU envoys held talks on the issue in the last days of December and any objections to the idea, notably from Greece, were dropped. One
EU diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity said: “The principle of an oil embargo is agreed. It is not being debated anymore.”
In London, British diplomats believe that Iran’s threat to close the strait in bluster and there are other indications that Tehran is feeling the
pressure to negotiate over its nuclear programme.
One diplomat noted that the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN watchdog, said two weeks ago that it may soon visit Iran for talks. A senior
Iranian official said last month that Tehran is prepared to discuss international concerns and remove “ambiguities” about its disputed nuclear
In his speech in Washington, Mr Hammond will talk more broadly about the US-UK relationship, arguing that “without strong economies and stable
public finances it is impossible to build and sustain … the military capability required to project power and maintain defence.
As the US prepares to announce details of planned defence cuts this month, Mr Hammond will say that the debt crisis in the US and Europe “should be
considered the greatest strategic threat to the future security of our nations.”
He will add: “The fact is, in this era of austerity … not even the United States can afford the astronomical resource commitment required to deal
with every threat from every source. In times of economic austerity, fixing these problems will mean finding smarter ways of working together to get
greater capability from the resources that exist.”