U.K. Chimes In: Disrupting Strait of Hormuz would be “illegal and unsuccessful”

After an 11 month, £20m refit, the HMS Argyll is currently sailing on six-month deployment in the middle east. Photo: Royal Navy

LONDON (Dow Jones)–Any attempt by Iran to disrupt the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz would be “illegal and unsuccessful”, U.K. Defence Secretary Philip Hammond will say Thursday.

In advanced extracts of a speech he is due to give in Washington, Hammond will say disruption to the flow of oil through the strait would threaten regional and global economic growth and it was in all interests that the arteries of global trade are kept open.

“The [U.K.] Royal Navy will continue to play a substantial role as part of the Combined Maritime Forces, both at the Headquarters in Bahrain, and through our mine counter-measure vessels which help maintain freedom of navigation in the Gulf,” he will say, according to the extracts.

Iran, the world’s fourth largest oil producer, has threatened to block oil deliveries through the Strait of Hormuz if global powers impose sanctions on the country’s oil industry over its nuclear activities. The U.S. Energy Information Administration said last week that the strait carries about 20% of all oil traded worldwide.

Hammond is visiting Washington Thursday to hold his first meeting with U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and discuss Afghanistan, the Gulf and defense cooperation.

In his speech to be delivered at the Atlantic Council, Hammond will also say too many North Atlantic Treaty Organization member countries were failing to meet their financial responsibilities in the group.

“Too many are opting out of operations or contributing but a fraction of what they should be capable of. This is a European problem, not an American one. And it is a political problem, not a military one,” he will say according to the extracts.

-By Nicholas Winning, Dow Jones Newswires