‘Security in Persian Gulf can only be protected by regional countries’

August 30, 2019

TEHRAN - Brigadier General Alireza Sabahifard, commander of Iran’s Air Defense Force, said on Friday that security in the Persian Gulf region can only be protected by the countries in the region and not by the foreign forces.

Extra-regional countries’ presence and coalitions just destabilize the region, he said during a speech at the Friday prayer.

“So, the West Asian countries’ leaders are strongly advised to revise their policies and avoid joining coalitions of the enemies of the world of Islam and seek intra-regional security policies,” he said.

Elsewhere, he noted that Iran has never sought any war, however, security of the country and the region is a redline for the Islamic Republic.

The United States has called on its European and Asian allies to form a maritime force to supposedly monitor safe shipping in the Strait of Hormuz and Persian Gulf.

So far, only Britain, Israel, Australia and Bahrain have agreed to join the coalition.

President Hassan Rouhani said on August 14 there is no need to foreign forces to maintain security in the Persian Gulf region.

“Major powers, especially America, seek nothing except causing division and emptying treasury of the Islamic countries. The Persian Gulf littoral states can maintain security and stability in the region,” Rouhani said during a cabinet meeting.

“The regional countries can maintain security through unity, solidarity and dialogue. Undoubtedly, the United States’ claims and actions will bring them [regional countries] no benefits. The regional countries have always been and will be ‘brothers’ and division only serves the enemies’ interests,” Rouhani remarked.

In an interview Al-Jazeera on August 12, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said, “We believe that the best the U.S. can do for the protection of maritime navigation is to just leave people alone; don't interfere.”

Zarif added, “What we have called for, and repeat, is that our neighbors - all of us - belong to this region, we cannot leave this region. Others will leave this region; others will not secure us; others will not provide us with the security umbrella that we need. We can provide each other with that security umbrella. We extend our hand, and our hand remains extended, to all our neighbors.”

Zarif said on August 9 that the Persian Gulf is a “national security priority for Iran” and that Tehran will not “hesitate to safeguard its security” in this strategic waterway, which he described as a “vital lifeline” for the Islamic Republic.

The chief diplomat warned that military presence of extra-regional forces is absolutely a “source of insecurity”.

“Mindful of this reality, any extra-regional presence is by definition source of insecurity - despite propaganda,” Zarif wrote on his Twitter account.

NA

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