May 16, 2019 / 2:38 PM / 6 days ago

Britain says shares same assessment of Iran as the United States

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt is seen outside Downing Street, as uncertainty over Brexit continues, in London, Britain May 15, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah Mckay/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain agrees with the United States that Iran poses a heightened threat and will work closely with its ally, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said on Thursday.

Hunt said he had discussed Iran with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week in London, and again in Brussels on Monday.

“We share the same assessment of the heightened threat posed by Iran,” Hunt said on Twitter. “As always we work closely with the USA.”

Earlier this week, Britain’s defence ministry backed a British general who appeared to question the Trump administration’s claims that an imminent threat had emerged from Iran.

The U.S. military has sent forces, including an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers, to the Middle East in a move that U.S. officials said was made to counter “clear indications” of threats from Iran to American forces in the region.

However, Chris Ghika, the deputy commander of the U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, said that there had been no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces.

His remarks contradicted the U.S. claims and prompted a rare public rebuttal from the Pentagon.

Navy Captain Bill Urban, lead spokesman for U.S. Central Command, said the remarks by the British general, ran counter to U.S. intelligence.

Reporting by Kate Holton and Andrew MacAskill; editing by Guy Faulconbridge

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