Persian Gulf security should be ensured exclusively by regional countries – Tehran

Sputnik – Persian Gulf states are solely responsible for cooperation on regional security, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi said Monday, blaming local tensions on the presence of non-regional countries.

“We are convinced that if it is necessary to ensure the security of the region, the Persian Gulf, this international waterway, there is no other way but with the cooperation of regional countries,” Mousavi said, as quoted by the Fars news agency.

The spokesman added that the root of all tensions in the Persian Gulf was the presence of outside countries in the region.

Last week, UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt proposed sending a European maritime security force to the Gulf in order to secure the maritime routes off the coasts of Iran and Yemen.

The UK garnered the support of several EU member states, including France, Italy, and Denmark, in contrast to distancing themselves from similar US plans, voiced at a NATO defence ministers meeting in late June.

The United States has also suggested forming an international coalition for the same purpose. According to French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, Paris is cooperating with its key European Union allies to also form a maritime security mission in the Persian Gulf.

Tensions in the Gulf region have been on the rise over the past several months. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps seized the UK-flagged Stena Impero oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz on July 19 over an alleged breach of international maritime regulations. The move came two weeks after Iran’s own Grace 1 oil tanker had been seized by UK marines over an alleged breach of EU anti-Syria sanctions.

Iran’s Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani made it clear that the tanker’s seizure was in retaliation for the detention of the Iranian oil supertanker Grace 1 in the Straits of Gibraltar by the British military earlier this month.