Thanks to Lib Dem Voice for alerting me to this speech (http://nickharveymp.com/en/article/2012/594944/maritime-security-in-the-middle-east-uk-political-will-and-military-capacity) from the other day by UK Defence Minister Nick Harvey, at this conference (http://m.rand.org/randeurope/about/news/rights-of-passage.html) on "Threats to Shipping in the Middle East". Very interesting re:- a possible British and international response to any possible Iranian closure of the Strait of Hormuz, with Mr Harvey (who is a Liberal Democrat) saying:
"Threats or attempts to block the Strait of Hormuz show a contempt for international law as it is seen by the majority of the states in the region, if not the world...Any attempt by Iran to do this would be illegal and [ultimately] unsuccessful..."
before outlining the British military capability that could be deployed in the Gulf. He goes on to say:
"[The] maritime security role the UK plays in the Gulf...is not the gunboat diplomacy of the 19th century.
"But we can, and will, use all our unique assets - economic, diplomatic, military, political, legal, and cultural - to ensure that our citizens are secure and prosperous in this new era."