Navy Warships on Standby for Iran

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Byline: Ian Drury Defence Correspondent

BRITAIN could send military re-inforcements to the Gulf if the conflict with Iran escalates, the Defence Secretary insisted yesterday.

Philip Hammond said the UK had a 'contingent capability' to bolster troop numbers in the volatile region.

He said the deployment of HMS Argyll as part of an international warship flotilla through the sensitive Strait of Hormuz on Sunday was a 'clear signal' to Tehran.

Foreign Secretary William Hague also increased the pressure on Tehran by confirming the possibility of sending further Navy vessels to the area, but insisted the sanctions were designed to prevent war. The Navy currently has more than 1,500 troops on 10 warships in the Middle East and Indian Ocean.

Mr Hague said: 'This is not a set of actions designed to lead to any conflict but to lead us away from any conflict by increasing the pressure for a peaceful settlement of these disputes. …