US, allies planning naval escort for Gulf tankers

Oil tankers pass through the Strait of Hormuz. (File/Reuters)
Updated 12 July 2019

US, allies planning naval escort for Gulf tankers

  • General Mark Milley told a Senate hearing that the US has a "crucial role" in enforcing freedom of navigation in the Gulf
  • He said the US was attempting to put together a coalition "in terms of providing military escort, naval escort to commercial shipping"

WASHINGTON: The United States and its allies are discussing plans to provide naval escorts for oil tankers through the Gulf, a top US general said Thursday after Iranian military vessels menaced a British tanker.
General Mark Milley, nominated to become the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Senate hearing that the US has a “crucial role” in enforcing freedom of navigation in the Gulf.
He said the US was attempting to put together a coalition “in terms of providing military escort, naval escort to commercial shipping.” 
“I think that that will be developing over the next couple weeks.”
Milley, currently chief of staff of the army, confirmed less specific remarks by current Joint Chiefs Chairman General Joseph Dunford earlier this week.
Dunford told media that the Pentagon was working to identify possible partners in an effort to protect navigation in the Straits of Hormuz and Bab Al-Mandab on either side of the Arabian peninsula where much of the world’s crude oil traffic passes.
Milley’s remarks came after London said Thursday that armed Iranian boats tried to block a supertanker before being warned off by a British warship in a dramatic escalation in the Gulf.
The British defense ministry said three Iranian boats tried to “impede the passage” of the British Heritage, a 274-meter (899-foot) tanker owned by BP that can carry a million barrels of oil.
“We are concerned by this action and continue to urge the Iranian authorities to de-escalate the situation in the region,” a Downing Street spokesman said.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards denied involvement but also cautioned both the United States and Britain that they would “strongly regret” the British detention of a tanker carrying Iranian crude oil off Gibraltar last week.


Iran condemns US show of support for ‘rioters’

Updated 13 min 17 sec ago

Iran condemns US show of support for ‘rioters’

  • Protests erupted in Iran on Friday, hours after it was announced the price of petrol would rise to 15,000 rials a liter
  • ‘The dignified people of Iran know well that such hypocritical remarks do not carry any honest sympathy’

TEHRAN: Iran condemned the United States’ support for “rioters” in a statement issued late Sunday, after two days of violent protests in the Islamic republic against a petrol price hike.
The foreign ministry said that it was reacting to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s “expression of support... for a group of rioters in some cities of Iran and condemned such support and interventionist remarks.”
Protests erupted in Iran on Friday, hours after it was announced the price of petrol would rise to 15,000 rials a liter (12 US cents) from 10,000 for the first 60 liters and to 30,000 rials for any extra fuel bought after that each month.
In a tweet on Saturday, Pompeo said in response to the demonstrations that “the United States is with you.”
Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi slammed his comments in Sunday night’s statement.
“The dignified people of Iran know well that such hypocritical remarks do not carry any honest sympathy,” Mousavi was quoted as saying.
“The acts of a rioter and saboteur group supported by the likes of (Pompeo) have no congruity with the conduct of the wise Iranian people.”
The statement blasted Washington’s “ill-intent” over its decision to reimpose sanctions on Tehran after the US withdrawal in May last year from the landmark 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
“It’s curious that the sympathizing is being done with the people who are under the pressure of America’s economic terrorism,” Mousavi said.

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