July 16, 2019 / 3:22 PM / a year ago

Gulf escalation is not in anyone's interests: UK PM May's spokesman

FILE PHOTO - Iran's national flags are seen on a square in Tehran February 10, 2012, a day before the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl

LONDON (Reuters) - An escalation of tensions between Western states and Iran is not in anybody’s interest, British Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman said on Tuesday following threats of retaliation from Iran over the seizure of an oil tanker.

“We have been consistent: Escalation in the Gulf is not in anyone’s interests and we have repeatedly stressed that to the Iranians,” the spokesman said.

Earlier, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei said Iran would respond to Britain’s “piracy” over the seizure in early July of an Iranian oil tanker in Gibraltar.

Asked about reports Britain would send a third warship and a navy tanker to the Persian Gulf, the spokesman said: “We have a permanent presence in the region.”

Reporting by Kylie MacLellan, writing by William James, editing by Elizabeth Piper

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