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Foreign Secretary concerned about US-Iran conflict

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said he is concerned about an accidental conflict between the US and Iran.

Speaking in Brussels, Jeremy Hunt said: “We are very worried about the risk of a conflict happening by accident, with an escalation that is unintended really on either side but ends with some kind of conflict. What we need is a period of calm to make sure that everyone understands what the other side is thinking” .

Hunt expressed concern about nuclear proliferation within the region and said: “If Iran becomes a nuclear power its neighbours are likely to want to become nuclear powers. This is already the most unstable region in the world. This would be a massive step in the wrong direction.” Hunt met with the Foreign Ministers of Germany and France and the EU’s Foreign Policy Chief.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass and EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini both expressed continued support for the Iran nuclear deal. Mass said that there was an agreement in Europe that the deal is “necessary for [European] security” and Mogherini said talks would focus on how to continue to implement the deal.

US President Donald Trump warned Iran of consequences if it targeted US interests. We’ll see what happens with Iran. If they do anything, it will be a very bad mistake. If they do anything they will suffer greatly,” the President said.

Tensions have increased after the US increased its military presence in the Gulf. The USS Arlington, with amphibious vehicles and aircraft have also been despatched to the Gulf to join the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group.

A US official said yesterday that their assessment of the incident in the UAE in which four Saudi commercial ships were sabotaged on Sunday near Fujairah emirate just outside the Strait of Hormuz is that it was carried out by Iran or Iranian-backed proxies. The official said each ship has a 5 to 10 foot hole in it, near or just below the water line, possibly caused by explosives. Iran has distanced itself from the event and the Iranian Foreign Ministry described the incident as “alarming and regrettable.”