Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Monday at a press conference in Tehran that the presence of US forces was an “obstacle” to “normal patrol operations” in the Persian Gulf. He urged what he described as “foreign troops” to end their illegitimate presence in the region.
“As the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has stated, we first call on foreign troops, who are present in the region illegally, to end their presence here. We want them to leave the area as soon as possible, whatever the motive for their presence here, “Mousavi said.
In response to claims by the US Navy that 11 Iranian military vessels surrounded US ships in the Persian Gulf on Wednesday, a Tehran spokesman stressed that American forces that caused Iranian patrol vessels “reacted and gave them the necessary warnings”.
Earlier, Iran’s Defense Minister, Amir Hatami, condemned the US military’s presence in the Persian Gulf, saying it was the reason for insecurity in the region.
“Iranians are broad-minded and see who is right; “We are at home and they come from the other side of the world to create problems for countries in the region by threatening and sanctioning them,” Hatami told reporters on the sidelines of the parade held on the occasion of Iran Army Day.
The Iranian suit follows a statemnt by the US Navy, where it claims that IRGC ships violate international norms because of “harassing approaches” to American military vessels.
“IRGCN ships repeatedly cross the bow and stern of US ships at very close and high speeds, including several crossings from the Towing with the closest approach point (BPA) 50 yards and within 10 yards of the bow of Maui”, the statement read.
“IRGCN’s dangerous and provocative actions increase the risk of miscalculation and collisions, are not in accordance with internationally recognized Conventions on International Regulations to Prevent Collisions at Sea (COLREGS) ‘road rules’ or internationally recognized sea rules, and are not in accordance with legal obligations international action to pay attention to the safety of other ships in the region. “
This so-called maritime military incident remains common between Iranian and US forces in the Persian Gulf, especially with narrow waters called the Strait of Hormuz. Last year, two oil tankers, the Panama-flagged Kokuka Courageous and the Marshall Islands-flagged Front Altair, were attacked in the area. While the cause of the incident remains unknown, the United States and its allies have blamed Iran, which has denied involvement.
Tensions between Tehran and Washington escalated after Iran’s military commander, Qasem Soleimani, was killed in January on the direct orders of US President Donald Trump. In addition, the US refused to lift sanctions against the country, making it very difficult for Iran to access medical supplies and other resources to slow the spread of the regional COVID-19 pandemic.
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