U.K. to Deploy Royal Marines to the Gulf, Report Says

Iran summons British envoy over tanker attack accusations, state media reports

Britain's Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt is seen outside Downing Street, in London, Britain, June 12, 2019.
\ HANNAH MCKAY/ REUTERS

The United Kingdom will send elite forces to the Gulf of Oman to protect its warships amid rising tensions with Iran, according to The Sunday Times.

Tobias Ellwood, the British defense minister, said tensions in the region were “a concern for us all," the report noted, which added that the one hundred royal marine force is on its way to Middle East “within weeks” to join naval ships operating from the U.K.'s new naval base in Bahrain.

The “force protection” mission that had been planned for several weeks due to rising tensions with Iran, according to the newspaper.

Iran on Saturday summoned the British ambassador to Tehran after Britain said it blamed the country for attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, the Students News Agency ISNA reported.

"During the meeting with Iran's foreign ministry official, Iran strongly criticised Britain's unacceptable stance regarding the attacks in the Gulf of Oman ... No other country but Britain has supported America's accusations over the attacks," ISNA reported.

>> Read more: Oman attack: Iran is the immediate, but unlikely, suspect | Analysis

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt issued a statement on Friday blaming Iran and its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps for the attacks, saying no other state or non-state actor could have been responsible. Iran has denied any involvement in the attacks.

The attacks have raised fears of a confrontation in the vital oil shipping route of the Strait of Hormuz at a time of increased tension between Iran and the United States.