France doesn't see Gulf situation spiraling out of control: army chief

FILE PHOTO: Francois Lecointre poses for photographers in front of the Arc de Triomphe prior to the start of the Bastille Day parade, in Paris

PARIS (Reuters) - Tensions in the Gulf are unlikely to spiral out of control, French armed forces chief Francois Lecointre said on Thursday after Britain accused Iran of harassing a British oil tanker.

"There is a clash of wills underway between the United States and Iran with posturing, reactions, signals and which can from one day to the next get out of control," Lecointre told CNews television.

"I think it is under control now... I don't think it can spiral out of control but there can be escalation," he added.

In the latest flaring of tensions, the British government said on Thursday that three Iranian vessels attempted to block the passage of a ship, the British Heritage, through the Strait of Hormuz, but withdrew after warnings from a British warship.

(Reporting by Sophie Louet; writing by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Toby Chopra)