Britain to join US-led ship security mission

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — The Latest on tensions in the Persian Gulf (all times local):

5:25 p.m.

Britain says it will work with the United States in a “new international maritime security mission” to protect merchant shipping in the Strait of Hormuz.

The Ministry of Defense said Monday that Royal Navy vessels will work alongside the U.S. Navy to escort vessels through the busy strait, which has become a flashpoint for tensions between Iran and the West.

The U.S. has been asking its allies to take part in a naval mission to protect shipping in the Strait of Hormuz, though European nations have been reluctant.

Britain has been giving U.K.-flagged vessels a naval escort since Iran’s Revolutionary Guard seized a British oil tanker last month.

Britain has two Royal Navy vessels in the region, the frigate HMS Montrose and the destroyer HMS Duncan. The Montrose is due to leave for repairs later this month.


11:00 a.m.

Iran’s foreign minister has lambasted the recent U.S. sanctions against him, calling the move a “failure” for diplomacy.

Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters in Tehran on Monday that “imposing sanctions against a foreign minister means failure” for any efforts at negotiations. It also means the side imposing the measures is “opposing talks.”

The U.S. administration last week announced sanctions on Zarif, a month after President Donald Trump imposed similar sanctions on Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The move is seen as part of Washington’s escalating campaign of what Trump calls “maximum pressure” on the Islamic Republic.

The U.S has increasingly deployed military to the region as tensions have been on the rise since Trump’s withdrawal last year from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.