General Sir Nick Carter, the UK’s military chief, issued a warning to Iran to “restore deterrence”, after the attack killed a UK national and a Romanian. He called on the UK Government to condemn the “reckless behaviour” and said Britain and its allies are looking into ways to ensure vessels remain safe while travelling in the Gulf.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Sir Nick said: “What we need to be doing fundamentally is calling out Iran for very reckless behaviour.
“They made a big mistake on the attack they did against the Mercer Street vessel last week because that has very much internationalised the state of play in the Gulf.
“We will work out with our allies what is the best way of providing protection [to international shipping in the Gulf] and convoys may not necessarily be the right method.
“We have used other methods and we will think and keep reviewing our way of keeping this happening.
“But ultimately we’ve got to restore deterrence because it’s behaviour like that [Iran’s alleged tanker attack] which leads to escalation & that could v easily lead to miscalculation & that would be v disastrous for all the people’s of the Gulf & the international community.”
Last Thursday an Israeli-managed oil tanker was attacked in the Arabian Sea, off the coast of Oman.
The MT Mercer Street was attacked by one or more suspected drones, killing a British and Romanian crew member.
Both the UK and the US believe Iran was behind the attack.
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Israel Prime Minister Naftali Bennett also said there was “evidence” Iran was responsible for the attack.
He warned that Israel knew “how to send a message to Iran in our own way”, as tensions between the states escalate.
Earlier this week Iran issued a warning shot to the UK, US and Israel that any actions in response to the drone attack on the tanker “will be met with a severe and decisive answer”.
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