UK political row deepens over Gulf ship attacks

Jeremy Corbyn (Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire)
Jeremy Corbyn (Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire)

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has accused the UK Government of escalating tensions with Iran without “credible evidence” that Tehran was responsible for attacks on two oil tankers.

But, in response, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt branded Corbyn’s attack as “pathetic” and said he was failing to stand up for British interests.

The clash came after a Norwegian and Japanese tanker were attacked in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday.

The Foreign Office said “no other state or non-state actor could plausibly have been responsible” for the incident.

The United States has also firmly blamed Iran, dismissing its insistence it had no involvement with the attacks.

Mr Corbyn tweeted: “Britain should act to ease tensions in the Gulf, not fuel a military escalation that began with US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement.

“Without credible evidence about the tanker attacks, the government’s rhetoric will only increase the threat of war.”

But Mr Hunt tweeted: “Pathetic and predictable.

“From Salisbury to the Middle East, why can he never bring himself to back British allies, British intelligence or British interests?”

Meanwhile Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe – the British-Iranian mother jailed in Iran on spying charges – has begun a new hunger strike, her husband has said.

Richard Ratcliffe said she had stopped taking food in protest at her “unfair imprisonment”.

He has also begun his own hunger strike, outside the Iranian embassy in London.