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Iran warns 'European war fleet' in Gulf would stir up tensions

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By Mark Armstrong  with Reuters
Iran warns 'European war fleet' in Gulf would stir up tensions

Iran has warned that any presence of what it called a European war fleet in the Persian Gulf would only increase tensions in the region.

Earlier this month Iran's Revolutionary Guards impounded a British-flagged tanker in the Strait of Hormuz claiming it had failed to observe international maritime regulations.

It was the second foreign oil tanker to be seized by Iran within a week.

France, Italy and Denmark gave initial support for a British plan for a European-led naval mission to ensure safe shipping through the Strait.

The latest warning came after Iran's President Rouhani met for talks with Oman's Foreign Minister Yousuf bin Alawi on Saturday to discuss the deteriorating situation.

"They (UK and US) want to bring the European war fleet in the Persian Gulf, we think that such actions are provocative in the current situation," Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei told reporters. "It has a hostile message. It will stir up tensions."

The situation in the Gulf is one of the consequences of the collapse of the 2015 nuclear pact with Iran.

The deal fell apart after the US withdrew from it in 2018 and reimposed sanctions on Tehran.

At the weekend, delegates from France, Britain, Germany, Russia, China and Iran arrived in Vienna for talks aimed at salvaging the pact.