Australia joins international maritime security construct in Gulf

Australia says it will join U.S.-led defense effort in Strait of Hormuz

Scott Morrison speaks during a joint press conference at the Istana Presidential Palace in Singapore,More

"Britain asked New Zealand whether it could help patrol the Strait of Hormuz following the seizure of oil tankers by Iran, but we didn't have any boats to send", the Minister of Defense says.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said, "This is a modest, meaningful and time-limited contribution that we are seeking to make to this global effort to ensure we maintain free flow of commerce and of navigation".

It is in Australia's interest to work with worldwide partners to uphold these rights.

Australia's Government on Wednesday announced it was joining a United States-led effort to protect shipping lanes in the waters between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.

Morrison stressed that the deployment would be "modest, meaningful and time-limited" while defense experts said it was likely a "re-tasking" of planned deployments to the region to satisfy USA requests.

Australian Defense Minister Linda Reynolds said military staff would in coming weeks join the security operation's headquarters in Bahrain, which announced its involvement in the operation Tuesday.

Background: Australia has willingly participated in previous US -led security missions due to its fears of China's growing influence in the Asia-Pacific.

On July 4, an Iranian tanker was seized in Gibraltar, a British territory.

Tensions in the region rose after Iran in July seized two oil tankers and Australia has been mulling whether to join an worldwide patrol effort for weeks.

The UAE said it was acts of sabotage and the U.S. accused the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) of being "directly responsible" for the attacks.

The commitment to join the U.S. comes after tensions simmered in the region over the seizure of an Iranian ship by Gibraltar, with the backing of the United Kingdom, that was believed to be heading to Syria in breach of UN sanctions.

US President Donald Trump withdrew Washington in 2018 from a big-power deal that had scrapped global sanctions in return for curbs on Iran's nuclear program.

Iran, who denied the ship was bound for Syria but would not disclose its destination, then seized a British tanker in the Strait of Hormuz for alleged marine violations.

"We appeal to you for a debate in our parliament on the growing tensions between the USA and Iran, and steps which Australia could take to reduce them".

"Australia is very reliant on traffic in the Strait of Hormuz".

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