Iran Foreign Ministry protests US provocations, illegal measures in Persian Gulf
Iran Press TV
Thursday, 23 April 2020 2:02 PM
The Iranian Foreign Ministry has summoned the Swiss ambassador, whose country represents the United Stats' interests, to convey the Islamic Republic's strong condemnation of the provocative and aggressive acts by the US Navy's terrorist forces in the Persian Gulf close to the Iranian coastline.
Speaking on Thursday, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi said, "The summoning took place because of the acts of harassment and provocation by American forces in the Persian Gulf," IRNA reported.
The ambassador, he added, received a note to relay to American officials, in which the Islamic Republic has outlined its "strong protest" at the threats posed by the Americans, including the US fleet's "illegal and destabilizing presence and actions" in the vicinity of the Persian Gulf's northern waters and the Iranian coasts.
According to the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), Iran's elite defense force, American vessels earlier resorted to "unprofessional and perilous" behavior in the waters, "causing trouble" for one of its logistics ship that was conducting a routine patrol.
A US Navy statement has, however, alleged that 11 IRGC boats had closed in on six US naval vessels in the Persian Gulf "in dangerous and harassing approaches." The IRGC strongly dismisses the statement, calling the account a "Hollywood tale."
In the protest note, the Islamic Republic has "reminded the US administration of the necessity for all parties to commit to international maritime safety and free shipping regulations," Mousavi said.
The spokesman also pointed to remarks made by Donald Trump on Wednesday in the wake of the US Navy statement, in which the American president said he had told the Navy to "shoot down and destroy" Iranian gunboats that "harass" US ships.
According to the Iranian official, Tehran has also warned Washington through the message that "while powerfully defending its maritime rights, the Islamic Republic of Iran would serve due response to any threat or illegal and aggressive action in the Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman region."
He called Trump's remarks "threatening and provocative," saying the Islamic Republic advises him to engage the American Navy in confronting the new coronavirus' pandemic, which has taken its biggest toll on the US, rather than resorting to "adventurism and blame game."
IRGC's Chief Commander Major General Hossein Salami has likewise downplayed Trump's anti-Iran rhetoric.
Also on Thursday, he warned that the Islamic Republic would target American vessels if they were to threaten the safety of the country's vessels or warships.
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