Britain will consider joining a US military assault on Iran، Jeremy Hunt said last night، Dailymail reported.
The Foreign Secretary confirmed the UK would consider requests for support ‘on a case-by-case basis’.
Washington has already mounted a full-scale cyber attack on Iran in the wake of an unmanned US drone being shot down. The Pentagon targeted computer systems used to control Tehran’s missile and rocket systems، intelligence sources said.
Donald Trump had earlier backed away from unleashing a major bombing campaign. He said the US military had been ‘cocked and loaded’ but added: ‘I am in no hurry.’
Tensions have escalated between the two countries ever since the US withdrew last year from a nuclear pact. Washington has blamed the Islamic Revolutionary Guard for attacking two tankers in the Strait of Hormuz – a key oil shipping route – this month.
The Pentagon released images of what it said was an Iranian military vessel mounting an operation to remove an unexploded limpet mine from a tanker’s hull. Four other tankers were damaged by explosives in the port of Fujairah in May.
Mr Hunt said: ‘We will stand by the United States as our strongest ally but of course we have to consider any requests for military support on a case-by-case basis.
‘We do strongly believe that the solution is for Iran to stop its destabilising activity throughout the Middle East and we are very concerned about the sabotaging of tankers that has happened recently، which is almost certainly Iran، and we’re constantly in touch with the United States.
‘We want to de-escalate the situation but we are of course extremely worried.’
Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted a map saying the drone – also widely used for carrying out military strikes – had entered his country’s airspace on May 26.
The map was dismissed as 'child-like' by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo، who pointed to detailed maps put out by American intelligence services which placed the drone in international airspace.
Mr Pompeo spoke on Sunday just before he departed for a trip to Saudi Arabia and the UAE، to key US allies، where he planned to build consensus on how to move forward on Iran.
'We'll be talking with them about how to make sure that we are all strategically aligned and how we can build out a global coalition' on Iran، Pompeo said.
Mr Trump decided not to go ahead with the military strike after being told by Pentagon advisers that an estimated 150 Iranian personnel could be killed.
He tweeted that it would not be proportionate to the loss of an unmanned aircraft.
Yesterday US national security adviser John Bolton، who was meeting with Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu، cautioned Iran against misinterpreting the last-minute cancellation.
‘Neither Iran nor any other hostile actor should mistake US prudence and discretion for weakness،’ Mr Bolton said in Jerusalem.
Mr Trump said at the weekend that new sanctions were being prepared against Iran.
The US special representative for Iran، Brian Hook، urged ‘all nations to use their diplomatic effort to urge Iran to de-escalate and meet diplomacy with diplomacy’.