Iran cannot be subject of negotiations: embassy

August 11, 2021 - 19:12

TEHRAN – The Iranian embassy in the United Kingdom has reacted to a tweet by the top diplomat of the United States saying that he conducted talks with his Saudi counterpart about Iran. 

“All must learn that Iran cannot be the subject of their negotiations. This way proved to be fruitless,” the Iranian embassy said on Twitter on Tuesday, hinting that the U.S. diplomatic push to coordinate positions of allies on Iran has struck a raw nerve in Tehran. 

It added, “Rather she would be the powerful party of any negotiations. Provided her potency is recognized as the pillar for regional security and its interests are respected accordingly.”

The embassy was commenting on a tweet by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken who said he spoke with Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan about an alleged attack against an Israeli-operated oil tanker off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. Washington, London, and Tel Aviv have pointed the finger of the blame at Iran but Tehran strongly rejected any involvement in the attack. 

“Spoke again today with Saudi Foreign Minister @FaisalbinFarhan about the recent Iranian attack in the Arabian Sea and our ongoing security cooperation. We also discussed support for a ceasefire in Yemen and the need for progress on human rights,” the U.S. top diplomat said on Twitter. 

The U.S. State Department also put out a statement confirming that Blinken broached the subject of Iran in his discussions with bin Farhan. “Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke today with the Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud.  The Secretary and Foreign Minister discussed regional security and the Iranian attack on the M/V Mercer Street in the Arabian Sea,” the Department said in a statement. “They also discussed other regional issues, bolstering security cooperation, Saudi support for a comprehensive ceasefire in Yemen and the need for immediate steps to mitigate Yemen’s humanitarian crisis.  Secretary Blinken emphasized the need for progress on human rights.”

This seems to have aroused concerns in Iran, a country historically known for its sensitivity to foreign scheming and machinations. 

The United States has launched a diplomatic campaign to build a united front against Iran in the wake of the late July attack on the M/V Mercer Street. 

Mercer Street was attacked off the coast of Oman on July 29 while traveling from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania to the United Arab Emirates port of Fujairah. The oil tanker, managed by Israeli shipping magnate Eyal Ofer’s Zodiac Maritime, was reportedly attacked by suicide drones. Zodiac Maritime said two crewmen, a British and Romanian national, died in the attack.

“With profound sadness, we understand the incident onboard the M/T Mercer Street on 29 July, 2021 has resulted in the deaths of two crew members on board,” the UK-based Israeli company said in a statement on Friday afternoon, a day after the attack.

Israel, the U.S. and the UK blamed Iran for the attack without presenting any evidence to support their accusations.  

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett claimed that Tel Aviv knows with certainty Iran attacked the Mercer Street ship and will respond to it.

“I determine, with absolute certainty – Iran carried out the attack against the ship,” Bennett stated, according to the Jerusalem Post. “The intelligence evidence for this exists and we expect the international community will make it clear to the Iranian regime that they have made a serious mistake.”

He noted, “In any case, we know how to send a message to Iran in our own way.”

The UK and the U.S. also followed suit. “We believe this attack was deliberate, targeted, and a clear violation of international law by Iran. UK assessments have concluded that it is highly likely that Iran attacked the MV Mercer Street in international waters off Oman on 29 July using one or more unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs),” said a UK statement last week. “The UK is working with our international partners on a concerted response to this unacceptable attack.”

Iran said it was not behind the attack on the Israeli ship. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh has responded to allegations by the U.S. and UK against Iran about the attack on the oil tanker.

Khatibzadeh said the statements issued by the U.S. and UK top diplomats contain “contradictory” claims and “provocative and false accusations.” He condemned these statements and called them “deeply regrettable.”

“Such coordinated statements (from Britain and the U.S.) include contradictory phrases per se, in a way that they first level accusations against the Islamic Republic of Iran without providing any evidence and document and then talk about the ‘possibility’ of this,” Khatibzadeh said.

An Iranian diplomat at the United Nations Security Council has criticized Israel for playing victim to divert the attention of the public away from its crimes in the region.

“We just heard a distorted statement about the Mercer Street vessel incident. Let me say a few words about it. First, our thoughts are with the families of those who have lost their loved ones in that unfortunate incident. Immediately following this event, Israeli officials accused Iran of the incident. This is what they usually do. It is a standard practice of the Israeli regime. Its aim is to divert the attention of the world public opinion from the regime’s crimes and inhumane practices in the region,” said Zahra Ershadi, ambassador and Charge d’affaires ad interim of the Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations. 

She added, “To that end, they accuse others of wrongdoing. In almost all incidents in the Middle East, Israel accuses Iran. They do it immediately and provide no evidence.”

In a separate statement to the UN Security Council on Monday, Ershadi rejected Israel’s allegations concerning the maritime threats allegedly posed by Tehran and called on the United Nations Security Council to address Israel’s malign activities on the high seas.
The diplomat called on the UN Security Council to be aware of the traps set by Israel and take action on Israel’s destabilizing activities. 

“The Security Council must live up to its charter-mandated responsibilities, put an end to its longstanding inaction and procrastination with respect to the systematic violation of international law by the Israeli regime and its criminal and destabilizing activities, and hold that regime accountable for all its unlawful practices that include committing four core international crimes. The Council must also remain fully vigilant and avoid being trapped by the fabrications of the Israeli regime – which, as usual, are blindly supported by certain Western countries in the Council; those who have prevented the Council in the past seven decades from taking any action against the criminal acts of the Israeli regime, emboldening it to commit, with total impunity, more crimes with more brutality,” Ershadi stated. 

She also underlined Iran’s determination in ensuring maritime security. “In conclusion, I reiterate the principled policy and resolute determination of the Islamic Republic of Iran, as in the past, in maintaining and promoting maritime security in the Caspian Sea, the Persian Gulf, the Hurmuz Strait and the Oman Sea as well as contributing to maritime security, ensuring freedom of navigation and combatting maritime crimes including piracy in the Indian Ocean and the adjacent areas. We also stand ready to actively and constructively cooperate with the littoral States of the aforementioned areas to promote regional peace and security,” Ershadi noted.

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