Iran: Persian Gulf is our red line

August 9, 2021 - 21:55

TEHRAN — In his press briefing on Monday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh answered to a series of questions, including the G7 statement, security in the Persian Gulf and negotiations for a possible revival of the JCPOA.

Khatibzadeh said the security of the Persian Gulf is a red line for the Islamic Republic.

On the recent allegations made by the British foreign secretary against Iran regarding a suspicious attack on the Israeli-operated oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman on July 29, Khatibzadeh stressed that such accusations are not new and are part of a series of irresponsible statements by British officials.

The Israeli-operated ship Mercer Street was attacked off the coast of Oman while traveling from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania to the United Arab Emirates port of Fujairah. Britain along with the U.S. claimed that Iran was responsible for the attack without being able to substantiate their claims.

Khatibzadeh said it is Britain which has a history in making sea routes insecure. He was referring to the British Royal Marines that seized an Iranian oil tanker in Gibraltar, a British overseas territory on July 4, 2019.

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"Iran is concerned about the blatant breach that Britain made of its tanker in international waters," he said. 

Khatibzadeh advised the UK to act responsibly.

"My strong advice to the British government is to pay attention to its responsibilities and duties. The security of the Persian Gulf is a red line for Iran, and we did our best to protect this waterway from the insecurities of countries like Britain,” he explained. 

Khatibzadeh also said that Iran and the UK share common concern about the safety of commercial ships in international waters. 

“Their (the British) action was banditry and because it was baseless, they were forced to release the Iranian tanker, which of course is not the only case in violation of shipping security law in international waters by the British,” the diplomat said. 

Khatibzadeh continued by saying that Britain is next to the “rebellious and notorious Zionist regime.” 

They demonstrated the position of London in regard to international system, he said, adding, “The more responsible statements we see from British officials, the better it will definitely be for the region.”

In the suspicious attack on the Israeli operated tanker two crew members including a British and Romanian citizen lost their lives.

Khatibzadeh expressed condolences to the families of the two victims.

“UK must pay its debt to Iran”

Regarding the UK’s debt to Iran, the spokesman also clarified that the debt that Britain owes to Iran for more than four decades has also been confirmed by the British courts. 

“Of course, to this day, the British government unfortunately not only has not paid its previous debts under false pretenses, but also has behaved in a way that shows their dishonesty in paying the debt. We have seen that every time the British government has taken this issue hostage under another pretext, and it is unfortunate that the logic of the British government is not to pay its certified debts, while making many claims about the observance of international law, but in practice, it has shown that it does not adhere to any of them,” he elaborated. 

Khatibzadeh continued by saying that not only receiving the debt from the British government has always been on the Foreign Ministry agenda, but if the British government wants to refuse to pay it, Iran will hold the British government responsible for not paying its debts.

“G7 statement is irresponsible and biased”

Regarding the recent statements of the EU foreign policy chief and the G7 statement against Iran about the Israeli operated tanker, the spokesman said that these irresponsible and biased statements are dismissed by Tehran.

“As a fundamental pillar of security and peace in the region, including the Persian Gulf, Iran has been involved in all the solutions that have led to security and peace in the region, and no one can ignore this issue. Unfortunately, we are witnessing the state terrorism of the Zionist regime with the support of some countries in international waters. Iran does not remain silent about the security of its merchant ships and supports any comprehensive action that leads to the security of merchant ships and peace and stability in sea routes,” he explained. 

Khatibzadeh also decried the G7 statement, saying that while the members of the G7 have been silent for months about the Zionist regime's “aggression, banditry, state terrorism, and sabotage of merchant ships, they should not take an unreasonable, biased position."

On August 6, the G7 issued a statement calling the incident for the Mercer ship “a targeted and deliberate attack,” pointing fingers towards Iran. 

“It is surprising that after the G7 issued that statement and Iran condemned that statement, Borrell made such remarks. These statements do not contribute to peace and stability” in the Sea of Oman and the Persian Gulf waterway, he asserted. 

At a conference on Monday at the United Nations Security Council on maritime security, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Moscow is committed to ensuring peace and security in the Persian Gulf waters. 

Russia strives to contribute to ensuring security in the Persian Gulf and Atlantic areas, where cases of sea piracy have become more frequent, Putin said, according to Sputnik.

"And of course, we strive to contribute to ensuring security in the Persian Gulf zone, in the Atlantic, in the waters of the Gulf of Guinea, where cases of sea robbery with taking hostages have become more frequent," the president said.

“Iran never left the JCPOA negotiation table”

The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman also said Iran has never left the talks for a possible revival of the JCPOA in Vienna. 

“There is a process of democratic transfer of power in Iran and changes are inevitably made in the executive teams,” he said, implicitly hinting a change of the nuclear negotiating team. 

The diplomat said that Iran is a member of the JCPOA and has acted within the framework of the deal, and the country that has left the nuclear deal and has not fulfilled its obligations is the United States.

Russian ambassador to the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency, Mikhail Ulyanov expressed hope for a resumption of the nuclear deal talks in Vienna as soon as the new Iranian government starts its work. 

“Looking forward to the resumption of the #ViennaTalks on #JCPOA as soon as the Iranian side gets prepared, hopefully in a few weeks,” Ulyanov tweeted on Monday afternoon.

Regarding Mora’s visit to Tehran, Khatibzadeh said that Hossein Amir Abdollahian, a possible candidate for the position of foreign minister, reflected the president’s opinion to Mora. 
“Mora also held talks with Foreign Ministry officials. President's positions are explicitly stated in his inauguration speech. They also explained their positions in a press conference with reporters, and this counts more than speculation,” he said. 

Khatibzadeh added that the important thing is that Iran has never left these talks. 

“A process of democratic transfer of power has taken place in the Islamic Republic of Iran, and naturally in this process changes are taking place in the executive teams, and this is not only understandable, but also shows the glory of democracy in the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he pointed out. 

The spokesman said that Raisi, in his speech on the day of his inauguration and also in his first press conference, explicitly stated that he had no doubt about the lifting of the oppressive sanctions against the Iranian people. 

It is going to happen by observing all the details and instructions announced and specified by the higher institutions, Khatibzadeh said. 

He added that all sides have to wait for the government to be fully established, ministers to be announced and approved and “this path will surely continue.”

Khatibzadeh warned officials in the Biden administration that they should know that they cannot achieve results with Trump's mentality other than what has happened in the last few years of maximum resistance by the Iranian people. 

“America's approach must change and they should pay more attention to the facts on the ground.

“They know that maximum pressure has failed and that nothing beyond the JCPOA is acceptable to the Islamic Republic of Iran, and that nothing less than the nuclear deal is acceptable to the government and the system in lifting sanctions,” he said. 

Khatibzadeh underlined that a return to the Vienna talks with a realistic approach is possible so that “we can achieve results in the shortest time.”

He added, “Certainly, if we reach a solution, the United States returns to its obligations under United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231 and fulfills its obligations, the Islamic Republic will stop its compensatory actions based on what it has announced and will fulfill its obligations.”

“Iraqi FM will pay a visit to Iran soon"

Khatibzadeh also said that the Iraqi foreign minister's visit to Iran is on the agenda and will take place soon, but it is too early to speculate on the content of the message that he will deliver to President Raisi.

“We will decide based on the message we receive,” he added. 

Khatibzadeh continued, “Iran has always been a forerunner of dialogue and regional relations and has always tried to invite other countries in the region to regional relations, and Iraq can play an important role in this regard.”

“Japan FM to visit Tehran”

Khatibzadeh also announced that the Japanese foreign minister's visit to Tehran has been on the agenda for several months and will take place “as soon as the details are finalized.”


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