Iran urges foreign forces to leave after naval incident
Iran Press TV
Monday, 20 April 2020 10:18 AM
Iran has told foreign forces, who maintain an illegitimate presence in the region, to leave it and avoid provoking the Islamic Republic's warning.
"As stated by the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), we firstly call on the foreign forces, who are present in the region illegitimately, to end their presence here," Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said Monday.
"We want them to leave the region as soon as possible, whatever may be the motive for their presence here," he said.
"Secondly, observe transit regulations and not compel our forces to issue warnings and reminders," the spokesman said, addressing the foreign forces.
On Sunday, the IRGC's Navy issued a statement, calling the illegal presence of US terrorist forces the main source of mischief and insecurity in the region.
The statement reported how the Navy had earlier been forced to increase its maritime patrols in the Persian Gulf in response to repeated "unprofessional" behavior by US naval forces.
Mousavi's comments and the IRGC statement came after attempts by the US Navy and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to misrepresent the increase in the IRGC's naval patrols.
The US Navy alleged earlier that Iranian boats had repeatedly come close to American military vessels in "dangerous and harassing approaches" in the waters, while Pompeo claimed in remarks to the Fox News that the Corps had behaved "in ways that were inconsistent with international law."
Mousavi asserted, "This is our region, and if our Armed Forces are supposed to patrol it, it should be unimpeded."
"Iran has existed in the region for thousands of years. The security of the region is provided by the Islamic Republic and the regional countries," he added.
Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami has dismissed the allegations of harassment by Iranian vessels as "baseless," while Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has slammed the US's regional presence by reminding Washington that its forces are "7,000 miles away from its borders."
'US seeking to hide economic terrorism'
Separately, Mousavi addressed a Saturday tweet by Pompeo, in which the US top diplomat called on the United Nations Security Council to prolong arms embargo against Iran.
The embargo will be lifted in October 2020 in line with the Security Council Resolution 2231 that endorsed a 2015 international nuclear agreement between Iran and other countries.
The US left the agreement in May 2018 and returned the sanctions that it had lifted. Washington has ever since been calling on other countries to similarly violate the deal by toeing the sanction line and refusing to conduct trade with Tehran.
The Islamic Republic has denounced the US pressure as "economic terrorism," and Mousavi said the US' focus on expiration of the arms embargo is aimed at "deflecting" the world's attention from it.
He advised Washington to rather stop its "frenzied and voracious" arms sales to the regional countries instead of concerning itself with Tehran's situation.
The spokesman, meanwhile, pointed to the shift that has come about in various countries, including the regional ones' priorities in light of the new coronavirus' pandemic.
He pointed to the relative convergence of the countries' positions and perspectives in the aftermath of the outbreak, saying the Islamic Republic has consistently been prepared for dialog and cooperation with the regional countries, especially the Persian Gulf's littoral states.
He referred to various initiatives that have been proposed by Tehran to enable the prospect, noting that the country has always announced its readiness for "unconditioned" negotiation.
Despite the uncertain health condition across the international community, Iran is prepared for dialog and interaction at whatever level and under whatever circumstances with the maritime states, especially those with which relations have been characterized with misunderstanding, the official said.
'US prime suspect of spreading coronavirus'
Mousavi also addressed attempts by the US at trying to allege that the new coronavirus has been spread from a laboratory in China. The Islamic Republic is against any "politicization" of the pandemic, he said.
The US is generating the rumors while it is itself "the prime suspect" of spreading the virus, the spokesman said.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|