American and British naval presence in Gulf brings insecurity – Iranian commander
American and British military posturing in the Persian Gulf undermines regional security, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s navy said. His warning comes as Gibraltar releases an Iranian tanker seized there by the UK.
“The presence of America and England in this region means insecurity,” Alireza Tangsiri cautioned on Sunday, according to Iranian media. He also suggested that Iran could form a coalition with neighboring states to guarantee security in the Gulf.
Tangsiri’s remarks coincide with Gibraltar’s decision to release ‘Grace 1,’ an Iranian oil tanker that was boarded and seized by British Royal Marines there last month. Washington has ordered that the vessel –now renamed to ‘Adrian Darya’– be recaptured once it leaves Gibraltar, accusing the ship of transporting oil to Syria to support the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
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The US has been pushing for an international naval armada that would patrol the Strait of Hormuz, a crucial shipping lane, after blaming Iran for suspicious attacks on four tankers in June. Washington has struggled to drum up support for the idea, with European allies such as Germany arguing that the move risks escalation.
For its part, Britain deployed two warships to the region after Iran seized one of its ships – a move which, Tehran said, was in retaliation against the UK’s “state piracy” of the ‘Grace 1’.
The naval build-up in the Gulf is set to become even more incendiary, as Israel has expressed interest in joining the US-led patrols. Tehran described Israel’s potential participation in the “policing” mission as “dangerous,” stating that the Islamic Republic “reserves the right to counter this threat and defend its territory.”
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