'US-led PG mission will sow insecurity in region'

August 9, 2019 - 13:17

'US-led PG mission will sow insecurity in region' Iran's defense chief says a United States-proposed coalition, which Washington purports would seek to beef up maritime security in the Strait of Hormuz, will foment insecurity in the region.

Such a coalition "will only increase regional insecurity," Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami told his Kuwaiti, Qatari, and Omani counterparts during separate telephone conversations on Thursday, IRNA reported.

Hatami added that regional security could only be provided by regional countries, noting that foreign presence here would have insecurity and instability as its only concomitants.

The senior Iranian defense official, meanwhile, described the US as "the main factor behind insecurity in the region," and stated, "We are of the opinion that all regional countries are entitled to security. We denounce insecurity in any single one of these countries or [its use] against one of them as unacceptable."

"We believe the region should not turn into a place for extra-regional elements to rampage,” he added.

The US has announced plans to form a Washington-led force amid its attempts to trouble Iran’s foreign oil sales as part of its sanctions targeting the Islamic Republic.

On June 30, the US officially asked Germany to participate — alongside Britain and France — in the coalition, a request that was declined by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas a day later.

Japan has likewise refused to join the force, and France has expressed reservations. Earlier in August, Bloomberg also reported that the US efforts to build the coalition “continue to bear little fruit,” noting that major ally Australia was still undecided whether to join.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the Iranian defense chief said the Islamic Republic has spared no effort to ensure security in the Persian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, or the Sea of Oman as it considers security to be the common objective sought the Islamic Republic and its regional neighbors.

"Therefore, we believe that security [of the region] must be provided by regional countries and countries in the region must enter into constructive talks in this regard," the Iranian defense minister said.

Hatami's comments came after Iran and the United Arab Emirates signed a memorandum of understanding to enhance maritime border security cooperation.

The document was signed by the commander of Iran's border police, Brigadier General Qassem Rezaie, and Emirati Coastguard Commander Brigadier General Mohammad Ali Mosleh al-Ahbabi during a meeting in Tehran last Thursday.

The meeting that led to the MoU's signing came following a chain of naval accidents in the region’s waters.

In May, explosions hit four commercial vessels from the UAE and Saudi Arabia off the Emirati port of Fujairah in the Persian Gulf. A month later, two blasts hit a Japanese and a Norwegian-owned vessel in the Sea of Oman. Iranian naval forces gave a quick response to the distress calls from those ships and rushed to rescue their crewmembers.

The United States soon tried to implicate Iran in the incidents to suggest that the Islamic Republic was trying to retaliate for bids by Washington and its allies to trouble the Islamic Republic’s international oil sales.

On June 15, however, Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan said his country did not have enough evidence to blame any country for previous month's naval attacks.

'Israel, US cooperation spells catastrophe'

Iran's defense minister also addressed reports pointing to Israel's inclination to join the proposed Washington-fronted Persian Gulf coalition.

"Such a possible move could be very provocative, and can have catastrophic implications for the region," he said.

For his part, Kuwait's Defense Minister Sheikh Nasser Bin Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah said his country favored reinforcement of its relations with the Islamic Republic, adding that Kuwait "respects Iran's determining and influential position in preserving regional peace and stability."

Qatari defense chief Khalid bin Mohammad Al Attiyah also said Doha had no doubt that regional security has to be ensured by the countries lying on both sides of the Persian Gulf, describing Iran as an important country when it comes to providing security for the strategic waterway.

Badr bin Saud bin Harib al-Busaidi, Oman's defense minister, also insisted on further regional involvement aimed at securing the region, and called for continuation of "close coordination and cooperation" between regional countries, especially their naval forces, towards ensuring security in the Strait of Hormuz.

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