AFP/ PTI

UK minister to visit Iran for crisis talks

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London, Jun 22 :  A minister from Britain's Foreign Office will travel to Iran on Sunday for talks with senior Iranian government officials amid escalating tensions in the Gulf region, the department said Saturday.

Minister of State for the Middle East Andrew Murrison will call for an "urgent de-escalation" of the crisis and raise British concerns "about Iran's regional conduct and its threat to cease complying with the nuclear deal to which the UK remains fully committed," a department statement said.

"At this time of increased regional tensions and at a crucial period for the future of the nuclear deal, this visit is an opportunity for further open, frank and constructive engagement with the government of Iran," it added.

US President Donald Trump said Friday that the United States was "cocked & loaded" to strike Iran but pulled back at the last minute because it would not have been a "proportionate" response to Tehran shooting down a pilotless American drone.

The downing of the drone -- which Iran insists violated its airspace, a claim Washington denies -- has seen tensions  spike after a series of attacks on tankers the US has blamed on Tehran.

Britain and the US are at odds over the nuclear deal they both signed with Iran, with Trump pulling out last year.

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