The United Kingdom has reportedly drawn up plans to send hundreds of troops and an extra nuclear submarine to the Persian Gulf amid escalating war threats against the Islamic Republic.
“MoD planners went into overdrive at the start of the year. Conflict is seen as inevitable as long as the regime (Iran) pursue their nuclear ambitions,” The Sun quoted a senior Whitehall official as saying on Sunday.
“Britain would be sucked in whether we like it or not,” the official added.
The report said a military attack against Iran is “a matter of when not if … with 18 to 24 months the likely timescale.”
“The UK will first fly an infantry battalion to the United Arab Emirates, our (UK) strong ally in the region,” The Sun said. “Further troops could follow if our other allies Oman, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar ask for help.”
The Royal Navy has already gathered seven warships in the Persian Gulf. HMS Daring – one of its newest and most powerful destroyers – arrived in the region last month to join Type 23 frigate HMS Argyll.
Minesweepers Pembroke, Quora, Middleton and Ramsey are also based in Bahrain and a nuclear submarine is stationed in the area.
According to the report, a second submarine armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles will also be deployed in the region under the UK war plan.
The Royal Air Force is also reportedly planning to send Typhoon and Tornado Jets to reinforce helicopter and transport plane crews already stationed in Qatar, Oman, Bahrain and the UAE.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague once again stressed last week that “all options must remain on the table” regarding Iran, repeating Western military threats against the Islamic Republic.
The United States, Israel, and some of their allies accuse Iran of pursuing military objectives in its nuclear program and have used this pretext to impose international and unilateral sanctions on the Islamic Republic and to call for a military strike against Tehran.
Iran has repeatedly refuted Western allegations, arguing that as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, it is entitled to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
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