|Attack on Iran would damage UK economy: British defense secretary||
TEHRAN – A military attack on Iran would damage the UK economy and jeopardize Britain’s recovery from recession, British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond has warned, the Telegraph reported on Wednesday.
The defense secretary said that a “third party attack” on Iran’s nuclear program could choke oil supplies from the Persian Gulf, driving up oil prices.
That would then have “a direct effect” on the UK economic recovery, he told MPs and peers.
Hammond was giving evidence to the parliament’s joint committee on national security strategy when he was asked about the consequences of an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear program.
He replied, “Firstly, the government firmly believes we should continue to pursue the diplomatic route in persuading Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions, but in doing so we should take nothing off the table.”
However, he added, a military confrontation with Iran could have harmful economic consequences.
He said, “In terms of a third party attack on Iran, in terms of the impact on the UK, anything which destabilizes the region, which put at risk flows of oil from the (Persian) Gulf, any attempt to close the Strait of Hormuz, would have a direct and immediate effect on the price of oil and therefore a direct effect on the prospects for economic growth and economic recovery in the UK.”
Around 40 percent of all seaborne shipments of oil travel through the Strait of Hormuz, which is little more than 34 miles wide at its narrowest point.
Some analysts have estimated that closing the strait would increase oil prices by $40 to $50 a barrel.
Iran has made several threats to close the strait as part of the diplomatic stand-off over its nuclear program. Such a threat in January this year caused a brief jump in oil prices.
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