Iran has right to counter Israeli presence in U.S.-led coalition in Persian Gulf

August 9, 2019

TEHRAN – Tehran says it has a right to counter the presence of Israel in a U.S.-led coalition in the Persian Gulf.

In a statement released on the Foreign Ministry website on Friday, the ministry spokesman condemned the Israeli regime’s decision to join the coalition, saying it is “a clear threat to Iran’s national security”.

“Iran reserves the right to counter this threat within the framework of the country's defense policy and responsibility because all the consequences of this dangerous act would lie with the American regime and the illegitimate Zionist regime,” Seyyed Abbas Mousavi stressed.

According to local reports, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said on Tuesday that Tel Aviv will join the U.S.-led coalition.

“Iran believes the presence of ultra-regional forces in the Persian Gulf under any name and title will not only fail to help reinforce the region’s security, but will further prepare the grounds for tension and crisis in the sensitive Persian Gulf region,” Mousavi stated.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran has announced its opposition to the formation of such coalitions and considers it a deceptive act which create tensions,” he added.

Mousavi also said Tehran will regard the organizers, founders, and members of such a coalition as the culprits behind possible tensions and crises that would emanate from such a move.

The remarks came against the backdrop of increased tensions between Iran and the U.S. after the Islamic Republic shot down an advanced U.S. spy drone over its territorial waters.

The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) said on June 20 that a U.S. spy drone that violated the Iranian territorial airspace in the early hours of the day was shot down by the IRGC Aerospace Force’s air defense unit near the Kooh-e-Mobarak region in the southern province of Hormozgan.

The invading drone was shot by Iran’s homegrown air defense missile system “Khordad-3rd”.

Later on the same day, U.S. President Donald Trump said he had called off a retaliatory attack on a number of targets in Iran and said that he was ready to speak with Iranian leaders and come to an understanding that would allow the country to improve its economic prospects. “What I’d like to see with Iran, I’d like to see them call me.”

“I look forward to the day where we can actually help Iran. We're not looking to hurt Iran,” Trump added.

However, on June 24 Trump announced new sanctions against top Iranian officials, including the office of Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and senior commanders of the IRGC.

On June 30, the U.S. 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. The UK, however, later accepted to join the coalition.

Iran’s defense chief said on Thursday that the U.S.-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,” Brigadier General Amir Hatami told his Kuwaiti, Qatari, and Omani counterparts during separate telephone conversations.

SP/PA

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