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Jeremy Hunt accused Iran of 'state piracy' today as tensions escalated over the tanker standoff.
The Foreign Secretary condemned the Tehran regime as he unveiled a new plan for a European-led force to protect shipping in the Gulf.
Government - Ball - UK-flagged - Shipping - Strait
The government has been accused of 'dropping the ball' by failing to protect UK-flagged shipping in the Strait of Hormuz, after a tanker was seized by Iranian forces.
In a blunt message today US secretary of state said it was down to Britain to 'take care of their own ships'.
Mr - Hunt - MPs - Law - Iran
Mr Hunt told MPs: 'Let us be absolutely clear: under international law Iran had no right to obstruct the ship's passage, let alone board her.
'It was therefore an act of state piracy, which the House will have no hesitation in condemning.'
Mr - Hunt - Protection - Effort - Measures
Mr Hunt said the European protection effort would complement measures being put in place by the US.
'We will now seek to put together a European-led maritime protection mission to support safe passage of both crew and cargo in this vital region,' Mr Hunt said.
Seizure - Stena - Impero - Friday - Britain
After the seizure of the Stena Impero on Friday, Britain will now ask all UK-flagged ships to notify the government they intend to pass through the Strait of Hormuz.
Mr Hunt told MPs: 'It is with a heavy heart that we are announcing this increased international presence in the Gulf because the focus of our diplomacy has been on de-escalating tensions in the hope that such changes would not be necessary.'
'If - Iran - Path - Price - Presence
He added: 'If Iran continues on this dangerous path, they must accept the price will be a larger Western military presence in the waters along their coastline, not because we wish to increase tensions but simply because freedom of navigation is a principle which Britain and its allies will always defend.'
Mr Hunt said the UK had sought to de-escalate the situation...
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