Britain has joined the United States and France in sending a flotilla of warships through the sensitive Strait of Hormuz in a pointed message to the Iranian regime.
The Ministry of Defence confirmed that a Royal Navy Type 23 frigate, HMS Argyll, was part of the US-led carrier group to pass through the waterway, as tensions continued to escalate over Tehran's nuclear programme.
European Union foreign ministers are expected to announce an embargo on Iranian oil exports, ratcheting up the pressure on the regime to abandon work which the West believes is aimed at building a nuclear bomb.
The Iranians have threatened to close the strait - through which 35% of the world's tanker-borne oil exports pass - in retaliation.
An MoD spokesman said: "HMS Argyll and a French vessel joined a US carrier group transiting through the Strait of Hormuz, to underline the unwavering international commitment to maintaining rights of passage under international law."
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