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UK PM to chair Cobra meeting on Iran crisis

UK PM to chair Cobra meeting on Iran crisis

London, July 22 : UK prime minister will chair the government’s emergency committee Cobra on Monday after a British-flagged tanker was seized by Iran in the Gulf.

Theresa May is expected to receive updates from ministers and officials and discuss maintaining the security of shipping in the area.

It comes amid reports ministers are considering freezing Iranian assets.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt is expected to update MPs later on further measures the government will take.

On Sunday, the Foreign Office confirmed Mr Hunt spoke with his French and German counterparts, who have both condemned Iran’s actions.

Mr Hunt thanked French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and the German foreign minister Heiko Maas for their countries’ support.

Both ministers agreed with the foreign secretary that safe passage for vessels through the Strait of Hormuz is a top priority for European nations, while avoiding any possible escalation in the region.

Ministers have denied reports the government had taken its “eye off the ball” over the situation in the Gulf due to domestic politics.

Chancellor Philip Hammond insisted the government had been “very much engaged with both the Americans and our European partners” in the response to Iran’s actions over the last few months.

And defence minister Tobias Ellwood said the UK had vessels going through 100 nautical miles of waterway every day in the region, adding: “It is impossible simply to escort each individual vessel.”

He suggested more money should be invested in the Navy if Britain wanted to continue to play a role on the international stage.