Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has reiterated his rejection of US plans to create a maritime coalition in the Persian Gulf, saying that Gulf states are able to protect regional security all by themselves.
“There is no need to attract foreign forces in order to maintain security in the Gulf,” Rouhani pointed out.
He added that Persian Gulf countries should remain committed to “dialogue and unity” to ensure regional security and that US actions in the area will be of no use to these nations.
Rouhani also said that "all this propaganda about a new coalition in the Persian Gulf and in the Gulf of Oman is inexpedient and superficial".
"No doubt, even if part of this propaganda is fulfilled, then [these measures] will not be useful for regional security", he pointed out.
Rouhani signalled Tehran's readiness "to ensure the security of this region together with its coastal states, just as it has been done in the past".
He also hit out at what he described as Israel’s “absurd” drive for adding to regional security by involvement in an “impractical and useless” US coalition in the Gulf. Rouhani said that the Israelis should “better protect their own security where they exist if they can”.
Iranian FM Zarif Rejects US' Gulf Coalition
The statement came after UK Defence Minister Ben Wallace announced last week that London would join a US-led maritime mission, which was earlier rejected by Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.
“Today, the United States is alone in the world and cannot create a coalition [in the Gulf]. Countries that are its friends are too ashamed of being in a coalition with them,” he pointed out.
Zarif accused the US of being accountable for tensions in the Persian Gulf region which caused "misery” and stressed that it is Iran that is responsible for the region’s safety and security.
Separately, Zarif tweeted that “any extra-regional presence is by definition a source of insecurity” there, warning that Iran “won't hesitate to safeguard its security”.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, for his part, reaffirmed his country's unwillingness to join a US-led maritime mission in the Persian Gulf, emphasising that Berlin “wants a European mission”.
The statement followed remarks by Brigadier General Yadollah Javani, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) deputy commander, that a US military maritime coalition in the Persian Gulf will “definitely go to ruin and fail to materialise”, just like the previous ones did.
US Allies Still Considering Joining Gulf Mission
Vice Admiral Michael Gilday, Director of the Joint Staff, and nominee to become the Navy’s top admiral, for his part, insisted that the US should let its allies do most of the work of the “international maritime security framework” that Washington is trying to set up in the Persian Gulf.
However, the UK currently remains the US’ only ally to join the mission, which is still being considered by Japan, Belgium and Norway.
Last month, the US floated the idea of creating a maritime coalition to patrol the Strait of Hormuz, in a bid to “ensure the freedom of navigation” in the area.
The move came after the UK-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero was seized by the IRGC in the Gulf over its alleged violation of maritime rules on 19 July. The seizure was preceded by the detention of the Iranian tanker Grace 1 near the Strait of Gibraltar over an alleged breach of EU sanctions.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry slammed the incident as an act of “pure piracy”, saying that it “sets a dangerous precedent”.