Iran is keen to ‘test’ Royal Navy’s resolve in Persian Gulf

HMS Montrose spent 27 days patrolling Straits of Hormuz and experienced 85 'interactions' with Iranian forces

Thursday 01 August - Iran is keen to test the Royal Navy’s resolve as it escorts UK-flagged commercial shipping through the contested waters of the Strait of Hormuz, the commander of a British warship said Wednesday.

William King, commander of HMS Montrose, said during 27 days patrolling the flashpoint entrance to the Gulf he and his crew experienced 85 'interactions with Iranian forces', which had often led to 'an exchange of warnings' over radio.

'That gives you some idea of the intensity ... perhaps more than we’ve seen of recent times,' Commandr King said. 'The Iranians seem to be keen to test our resolve, test our reactions most of the time,' he added.

'They’ll claim that perhaps our presence is illegitimate, even though we’re completely lawfully in international waters. They may also run boats in at speed towards us, to test what warning levels we get to.'

Montrose is in the area as part of a three-year deployment based at a British naval hub opened in Bahrain last year. The warship began the escorts through the world’s busiest oil shipping lane earlier this month.

Plans for the ship to be joined by other elements from European navies is still a matter of debate.

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