Self-defense is not a joke for Iran: Kharrazi

July 22, 2019 - 20:0

TEHRAN - Kamal Kharrazi, chairman of Iran’s Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, has said that defending “territorial integrity” and guarding the country’s “dignity” is not a joke.

“Iran has not aggressed any country over the past 250 years. However, it plays no joke with anybody in defending its territorial integrity and credibility as it has shown during the past 40 years,” he told IRNA in an interview published on Monday.

Iran has always stood against aggressors and considers it a “national and religious duty”, he said.

Commenting on Britain’s threats of imposing sanctions on Iran, he said that various types of sanctions have been imposed on Iran and the people have resisted.

He noted that the Iranian people withstand sanctions and pressure to defend their independence.

According to Reuters, British ministers are making plans aimed at targeting Iran with sanctions in the aftermath of the Iranian seizure of a British-flagged oil tanker in the Persian Gulf.

Iranian forces late on Friday impounded a British-flagged oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz for involvement in an accident with an Iranian fishing boat, after the tanker ignored distress calls.

Allah-Morad Afifipour, head of the Ports and Maritime Organization in the southern Hormozgan Province, said on Saturday that the 30,000-ton Stena Impero tanker had collided with a fishing boat on its route, adding that according to law, after an accident it is necessary that the causes are investigated.

Following the collision, those on board the fishing boat contacted the British vessel but didn’t receive any response, so they informed the Hormozgan Maritime Organization according to the legal procedures, Afifpour added.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, in a tweet on Saturday, said Iran’s conduct towards the British tanker had been fully within international maritime rules. He also compared Iran’s action with a recent seizure of an Iranian tanker by the UK in Gibraltar.

“Unlike the piracy in the Strait of Gibraltar, our action in the Persian Gulf is to uphold int’l maritime rules. As I said in NY, it is IRAN that guarantees the security of the Persian Gulf & the Strait of Hormuz. UK must cease being an accessory to #EconomicTerrorism of the US.”

On July 4, Britain captured a supertanker carrying the Iranian oil by claiming that it was transporting oil to Syria in violation of the EU sanctions.

Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said on Sunday that the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) responded to piracy by Britain by seizing a British tanker in the Strait of Hormuz on Sunday night.

Last Tuesday, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei condemned the British government’s illegal seizure of the supertanker in Gibraltar, saying the act of “piracy” will not go “unanswered”.

“The evil England conducts piracy and steals our ship,” the Leader said. “They carry out an atrocity and give it a legal form.”

“The Islamic Republic and the establishment’s pious elements will not leave these enmities unanswered,” he warned.

NA/PA

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