In the early hours of Sunday, scores of the UK’s Special Air Service (SAS) were sent to Iraq to help with the potential evacuation of Britons after a US drone strike which killed Qasem Soleimani, head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)’s elite Quds Force.
The Sun reports that a UK Royal Navy nuclear-powered attack submarine will be “in position to strike Iran” if the current tensions between Tehran and Washington over the killing of an Iranian general result in a full-fledged armed conflict.
The newspaper cited unnamed senior UK defence sources as saying that an Astute-class hunter-killer sub armed with Tomahawk cruise nuclear missiles “was sat silently” in range of Iran.
The sources added that even though there won’t be a first strike, “every precaution is being made, depending on how Iran reacts to the death of Soleimani”.
If things unravel quickly, the UK will always stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the US. The hunter-killers are the most advanced submarines in the Royal Navy. They are a deadly asset and there is one well within range of Iran,” the sources pointed out.
Iran already hoisted a red flag over the dome of Jamkaran Mosque, signalling the commencement of hostilities against the US.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace also ordered the deployment of UK warships to the Strait of Hormuz to “take all necessary steps to protect our ships and citizens” as Iran is pledging retaliation following the killing of Soleimani.