Defence secretary Ben Wallace says two Royal Navy ships will resume escorting UK-flagged commercial vessels in the Strait of Hormuz amid rising tensions between the US and Iran.
Iran is vowing revenge after the US ordered the execution of top general Qassem Soleimani.
He was killed in an operation near Baghdad International Airport in Iraq, causing a swift escalation of tensions between the US and Iran.
Iran’s leader’s vows of retaliation has sparked fears Soleimani’s death could trigger war.
The country’s leaders have outlined its intentions to target key United States allies and assets in response to US President Donald Trump’s forces’ execution of Soleimani.
The Royal Navy has responded to increased anger from Iran toward western regimes today by announcing it will bolster its security presence in the strait between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.
The Navy came under pressure earlier last year after Iran seized UK-flagged ship the Stena Impero in the strait.
Tensions spiked between Iran and Britain over the summer when Iranian commandos seized a British-flagged tanker in the world’s most important waterway for oil shipments.
It came two weeks after British forces captured an Iranian oil tanker near Gibraltar that had been accused of violating sanctions on Syria.
The incident prompted the Ministry of Defence to send in Royal Navy destroyers to the Gulf to escort UK-flagged merchant vessels.
Mr Wallace said he had ordered the HMS Montrose, which was the first warship drafted in following the Stena Impero incident, along with the HMS Defender to return to escort duties.
The warships will accompany all ships sailing under a British merchant flag.
“The government will take all necessary steps to protect our ships and citizens at this time,” the Defence Secretary said.
Friday’s attack on Baghdad airport, authorised by Donald Trump, was a major escalation in a “shadow war” in the Middle East between Iran and the US and American allies, principally Israel and Saudi Arabia.
Soleimani was Tehran’s most prominent military commander and the architect of its growing influence in the Middle East.