Navy chief downplays U.S. presence in Persian Gulf, saying it is ‘nothing new’

May 13, 2019

TEHRAN – Chief of the Iranian Navy Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi said on Sunday that the presence of U.S. naval fleet in the Persian Gulf is just for a show, noting that it does not serve any other purpose.

“I don’t know why this naval fleet is receiving so much attention,” Khanzadi said, Mehr reported.

He pointed out that during the past 40 years, since the Islamic Revolution, American forces have been near Iran’s borders.

“However, the presence of U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf has reached its end and they must leave the region,” he added.

Last week, the White House announced it would send its USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group and the bombers into the Persian Gulf to counter threats by Tehran. 

The Abraham Lincoln carrier on Thursday passed through the Suez Canal on its way to the Persian Gulf.

Tension between Tehran and Washington have been rising  since the Trump administration pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and reimposed sanctions on Iran which had been lifted under the accord.

The U.S. pressure campaign against Tehran is not limited to sanctions. It has also put Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) on its list of foreign terrorist organization. Iran, in response, designated the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) in the Middle East as a terrorist organization. 

Meanwhile, a year after the U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA, Iran announced last week that it will stop implementing some parts of its commitments under the JCPOA.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran upholds its rights under articles 26 and 36 of the JCPOA and will stop implementing some parts of its obligation under the JCPOA from today, May 8, 2019, in line with protecting the Iranian people’s security and national interests,” Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) said in a statement on May 8.

MH/PA

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