US cannot create insecurity in Persian Gulf: Iran’s FM Zarif

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif notes during a European tour that Iran invests all its efforts towards ensuring security in the Persian Gulf, asserting that the United States cannot afflict insecurity upon the strategic region.

“They should know that they cannot create insecurity [here],” the top diplomat stated, reminding that Iran’s Persian Gulf coastline stretches as far as 1,500 miles (2,414 kilometers, making it the longest among the body of water’s littoral states.

The country also enjoys control over half of the expanse of the Strait of Hormuz, he said, adding that provision of security for the lifeline shipping route is impossible without Iran’s participation.

The top diplomat was speaking from Oslo, on the third leg of the tour, which has already taken him to Finland and Sweden, and is slated to land him in France later, IRNA reported on Thursday.

The United States has announced plans to form a coalition to supposedly protect shipping in the Strait of Hormuz following a series of mysterious attacks on oil tankers in the strait and the Sea of Oman.

Washington has accused Iran of having a hand in those attacks, a claim Tehran has strongly rejected. Tehran has warned that such acts of sabotage may be part of a general ploy to target Iran amid increasing regional tensions.

The US has asked its allies to join the coalition, a call which has not been warmly received by several countries, including Germany, Japan and Spain, over apparent fears that such a mission could further ratchet up tensions with Iran.

“Should any one favor security in the Persian Gulf, it should seek security for all [of its coastal countries],” Zarif said, and expressed the Islamic Republic’s readiness for interaction with all those, who are interested in collective action aimed at ensuring regional security.

The foreign minister said Iran has proven its disinclination towards escalating tensions, citing the country’s bilateral and multilateral negotiations with the previous US administration that resulted in the conclusion of a 2015 nuclear agreement between Tehran and major world powers.

‘US on the wrong side, not Iran’

“But the US chose to exit the accord, and created the policy of maximum pressure and economic warfare against Iran,” he added, referring to the current US administration’s undertakings. “It was them, who started the war against us. We did not take any action against them,” he added.

He, meanwhile, noted how American authorities had thought that Iran would “fall apart” within seven days of their adopting the approach.

The country, however, withstood the pressure as it has against all aggressors, including Genghis Khan and Iraq’s former dictator Saddam Hussein. “We have been standing tall there for the past 7,000 years,” Zarif said.

‘Iran ship was not in violation of EU laws’

Those choosing to act against the Islamic Republic have now come to resort to “threaten our maritime security,” Zarif said, citing Britain and Gibraltar’s detention of Iranian supertanker Adrian Darya 1, previously named Grace 1, off Spain early last month.

The ship was seized based on alleged fears that it was violating the European Union’s unilateral sanctions against Syria by taking oil to the Arab country.

“This is while we know that the EU’s laws cannot be implemented extraterritorially,” the foreign minister said. “All should commit to international law. If countries do not respect international law, chaos will ensue,” he remarked.

‘US cause of insecurity in Persian Gulf’

Later on Thursday, Zarif took part in a press conference with his Norwegian counterpart, Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide, in the Norwegian capital, slamming presence of foreign forces in the Persian Gulf as a cause of insecurity.

Zarif made the remarks when asked whether Norway would join a US-proposed military coalition in the Persian Gulf. “The United States is the cause of insecurity in the Persian Gulf. This region is already crowded [with foreign military forces] and we must not allow the risk of accidents to increase there,” Iran’s top diplomat said.

He considered Iran to be “the most important pivot of shipping security in the region,” and observed that a military build-up would not contribute to regional security.

The Islamic Republic has made respect for shipping freedom a plank of its policy, Zarif said, and urged all to behave likewise.

He defined respect for the principle of multilateralism as “one of our biggest concerns.”

Zarif finally said he would be traveling to Paris at President Hassan Rouhani’s behest to examine proposals prepared by French President Emmanuel Macron for saving the nuclear agreement and “[try] arriving at common grounds.”

Macron recently stepped up diplomatic contact with Tehran in a bid to allegedly cease the US economic war against Iran and deescalate tensions in the region. His top diplomatic advisor also traveled to Iran to hold talks with the country’s officials with the aim of contributing to easing tensions in the Persian Gulf region.

According to a French presidency official, Emmanuel Bonne “did indeed travel to Iran on June 19 … to hold high-level talks with the objective of contributing to a de-escalation of tensions in the region.”


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