TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Australia will join a US-led maritime patrol force which is supposed to protect oil tankers and cargo ships in the Strait of Hormuz, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Wednesday.
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"The government has decided that it is in Australia's national interest to work with our international partners to contribute. Our contribution will be limited in scope and it will be time-bound," Morrison told a news conference in Canberra, Reuters reported.
Morrison said Australia will send a P-8A Poseidon surveillance plane to the Middle East for one month before the end of 2019, while an Australian frigate will be deployed in January 2020 for six months.
In late July, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on Japan, Britain, France, Germany, South Korea, Australia and other nations to join the so-called maritime force to guard oil tankers sailing through the Strait of Hormuz.
In August, Germany and Japan said they would not participate in the naval mission.
Washington has lately adopted a quasi-warlike posture against Tehran, and intensified its provocative military moves in the Middle East, among them the June 20 incursion of advanced US-made RQ-4 Global Hawk into Iranian airspace over territorial waters off the coastal province of Hormozgan.
The UK has joined the US in fueling tensions with Iran by seizing an Iranian-owned supertanker in the Strait of Gibraltar on July 4 in an apparent act of "maritime piracy."