Deterring Iran, 1968-71: The Royal Navy, Iran, and the Disputed Persian Gulf Islands
NAVAL WAR COLL NEWPORT RI
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Between 1968 and 1971,Whitehall assigned the Royal Navy an unusual mission-to defend a series of disputed Persian Gulf islands while the United Kingdom was selling arms to and conducting naval exercises with Iran, the very country that threatened to invade them. The ownership of Abu Musa, Greater Tunb, and Lesser Tunbthree islands astride the western approaches to the Strait of Hormuz-was as controversial in the late 1960s as it is today. The current controversy has its roots in complicated historical claims and the way Great Britain defended, and ultimately negotiated a handoff of, the three islands. Today it is possible to gain a far more refined understanding of Britains naval and diplomatic strategy for protecting and then disposing of the contested islands. Hundreds of formerly secret British military and diplomatic documents have been declassified and released on the subject since 1999. They are a rich resource for understanding the controversies associated with British naval planning to defend the islands and Londons undertakings to its former charges when it finally withdrew from the Gulf in 1971.
- Humanities and History
- Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies