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UK, Germany and France trying to find diplomatic solution for ships Iran seized from UK

Christian Fernsby |
Britain's defense secretary says the British-flagged oil tanker that has been seized by Iranian forces was in Omani waters at the time.

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Penny Mordaunt told Sky News on Saturday that the takeover was a "hostile act" by Iran. Britain has promised a "robust" response but there are no indications the use of military force is a likely option.

Mordaunt says that a British Royal Navy frigate deployed to help protect shipping in the Strait of Hormuz was roughly 60 minutes from the scene when the Iranians took control of the tanker.

Britain's Foreign Office has summoned a senior Iranian diplomat to Whitehall to discuss the crisis brought about by Iran's seizure of a British-flagged tanker in the Strait of Hormuz.

The summons to Iran's charge d'affaires came Saturday, one day after Iranian patrol boats backed by helicopter support took control of the Stena Impero tanker and brought it to Iran.

Britain has said it is seeking a diplomatic and not a military solution to the situation. It is calling for the immediate return of the vessel and its crew.

Britain's government has been holding emergency security Cabinet sessions to try and find a way out of the impasse.

Germany says Iran's seizure of a British oil tanker and the brief detention of another is an "unjustifiable intrusion" on shipping through a key Persian Gulf route that is increasing tensions in the region.

The Foreign Ministry said Saturday that it "strongly condemns" Iran's actions on Friday against the vessels in the Strait of Hormuz.

France's foreign ministry has called on Iran to quickly free a British-flagged oil tanker and its crew, as well as respect freedom of navigation in the Persian Gulf.

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