Press TV – Russia says a proposed US-led mission to purportedly help secure the Strait of Hormuz is a pretext for Washington to further pressure Tehran and destabilize the Persian Gulf region.
Speaking at a news briefing in Moscow on Thursday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said, “Events there [Persian Gulf region] are really moving to a dangerous point and there are risks of a large-scale military clash.”
She also noted that Russia believes the US is merely looking for a “pretext to whip up the situation, continue its aggressive rhetoric towards Iran, and to shift to a hotter more active phase of the conflict.”
A US move to set up an international naval patrol force in the Strait of Hormuz looks like “a crude attempt to pressure” the Islamic Republic, Zakharova said.
The US has asked a number of countries to join the so-called mission. On Tuesday, it officially asked Germany to participate alongside Britain and France. However, the request was rejected by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas a day later. Maas stressed diplomacy instead.
On Thursday, the US ambassador to Germany took a swipe against Berlin for refusing to participate in the mission and said America had “sacrificed a lot” to help Germany remain part of the West.
The idea for a maritime force publicly emerged on July 9, when US Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that Washington was planning to form an international maritime security force to allegedly ensure freedom of navigation in waters off Iran and Yemen.
That development came after several oil tankers came under allegedly sabotage attacks near the Persian Gulf in June, with the US and its ally Saudi Arabia blaming the Islamic Republic for the attacks.
Tehran rejected the accusations as baseless and said the incidents were “suspicious,” indicating a belief that false flag operations may have been carried out in an attempt to justify some form of foreign military intervention in the region.
Iran has also rejected any foreign military presence in the region, stressing that regional countries alone are to provide such security.
The US has already engaged in a military buildup in the Persian Gulf, including by ordering the accelerated dispatch of an aircraft carrier to the region.