Unintended escalation? British foreign sec claims US-Iran conflict could kick off ‘BY ACCIDENT’

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has warned that a conflict in the Gulf between the US and Iran could flare up “by accident,” following rising tensions in the region over the past week.

The warning comes after the US announced the deployment of aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln to the Persian Gulf to counter an alleged threat from Iran.

Addressing reporters in Brussels on Monday, where Britain’s top diplomat is set to hold talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Hunt called for calm to avoid a full-blown conflict between the two adversaries.

The region is already on edge because of the standoff between Washington and Tehran over the Iran nuclear deal.

Hunt urged the two parties to come up with a peaceful resolution and avoid a scenario of putting “Iran back on the path to renuclearisation,” adding “this is already the most unstable region in the world and it would be a massive step in the wrong direction.”

Saudi Arabia claims two of its oil tankers were damaged in “sabotage attacks” in the Gulf, with Iran calling for an inquiry and warning of “adventurism” by foreign states to disrupt maritime security. read more

Iran warns of ‘conspiracy by ill-wishers,’ urges probe into ‘sabotage attack’ off UAE coast

Iran’s Foreign Ministry said it wants clarification of what happened at the UAE port of Fujairah, where four ships were reportedly targeted in a “sabotage operation.”

Sunday’s incident at Fujairah port was “alarming and regrettable,” a spokesman for Iranian Foreign Ministry, Abbas Mousavi, said in a statement on Monday. He cautioned against “adventurism by foreigners,” which could undermine the region’s stability and security, saying shipping and maritime safety is of paramount importance to Tehran.

Iran wants to know “the exact dimensions” of what happened at the UAE’s port, Mousavi continued. Until all details of the incident are found out, it is crucial to be wary of attempts by “ill-wishers” to disrupt regional security.

The UAE claimed on Monday that a “sabotage attack” took place in waters near the emirate of Fujairah, which is located in the Gulf of Oman just outside the Strait of Hormuz. The incident affected four vessels but didn’t cause any fatalities or oil spills. read more