'Iran Won't Hesitate': FM Zarif Slams Extra-Regional Coalition in Persian Gulf
08:51 10.08.2019(updated 08:52 10.08.2019)
The US decision to build a maritime coalition to patrol the key sea route across the Strait of Hormuz has prompted outrage in Tehran, predicting it will result in more instability in the region. Tensions over the issue further escalated after reports of Israeli involvement in the matter, deemed a "clear threat" by the Islamic Republic.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has apparently taken aim at Washington' s efforts to build a US-led maritime coalition in the Persian Gulf, insisting that "any extra-regional presence is by definition source of insecurity" there. He warned that Iran "won't hesitate to safeguard its security".
"Persian Gulf is vital lifeline and thus nat'l [sic] security priority for Iran, which has long ensured maritime security. Mindful of this reality, any extra-regional presence is by definition source of insecurity - despite propaganda", he tweeted.
His remarks follow a rant by the the country's Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi, who slammed Israel's possible involvement in a US-led military coalition in the Persian Gulf as a threat to its national security. He noted that Tehran has the right to confront such a threat.
"Within the framework of the country's deterrence and defensive policy, the Islamic Republic of Iran reserves the right to counter this threat and defend its territory", Mousavi said, as cited by the Iranian outlet Press TV.
Iranian Defence Minister Brig. Gen. Amir Hatami earlier warned that Israeli participation in the mission would be "highly provocative, and could have disastrous consequences for the region". Like Zarif, he also lambasted any foreign presence, while Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Commander-in-Chief Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami branded a potential operation in the Gulf as a "coalition of demons" and warned that Israel's existence would be threatened with "irreversible collapse" in the event of a military conflict between the US and Iran.
The US made public a plan to create a mission, dubbed Operation Sentinel, to police the key sea route following attacks against oil tankers in the region. In May, four vessels - two Saudi, one Emirati and one Norwegian - were targeted near the UAE port of Fujairah. In June, two more tankers - Japanese and Norwegian - were purportedly targeted in the Gulf of Oman near the Strait of Hormuz. Washington and some of its allies blamed Tehran for the "sabotage", which Iran has consistently denied.
Relations between Tehran, on the one side and Washington and Tel-Aviv, on the other, further deteriorated after it had been reported that Israel would provide intelligence assistance and other "unspecified fields" to the US-led naval mission.
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