LONDON (Reuters) - Britain urged Iran on Wednesday to ease tensions in the Gulf, while pledging to defend its shipping interests in the region.
Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt, asked about a decision to send a third warship to the Gulf, said Britain had always been concerned about defending its interests in the Gulf and elsewhere.
"But it is vital that we send a very clear message to Iran that we want them to step back from this situation, that we want them to de-escalate, but we have always and we will continue to protect shipping and the free flow of goods in that area."
Mordaunt was speaking at a defense conference about the latest naval deployment, which comes amid growing tensions with Iran after Royal Marines seized an Iranian tanker off the coast of Gibraltar earlier this month.
(Reporting by Tim Hepher; Editing by Angus MacSwan)