Press TV – Iran’s defense minister has dismissed US reports of harassment by Iranian vessels as “baseless” and said the “illegal and aggressive” American presence in the Persian Gulf is causing insecurity in the region.
“What leads to insecurity in the Persian Gulf region is actually the illegal and aggressive presence of the Americans who have come from the other end of the world to our borders and make such baseless claims,” Defence Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami told reporters in Tehran.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also slammed the US presence, reminding Washington that its forces are “7,000 miles away from its borders” following US uproar over an encounter with Iranian patrol boats.
“US Navy can’t seem to find its way around our waters… Or maybe it doesn’t know what it’s doing in our backyard, 7,000 miles from home,” Zarif said in a tweet originally published in 2018 and reshared on Thursday.
“Yearly reminder” Zarif commented under the original tweet.
The remarks came in response to a US Navy statement published on Wednesday claiming that 11 Iranian Islamic Revolution Guards Corps boats had closed in on up to six US naval vessels in the Persian Gulf “in dangerous and harassing approaches”.
The statement also said the incident took place in the “northern Arabian Gulf”, a historically flawed and provocative expression commonly adopted by anti-Iran groups instead of “Persian Gulf” term.
The development comes as Iranian vessels, usually belonging to the IRGC, commonly patrol the Persian Gulf to ensure the security of the vital global energy hub.
Tensions in the strategic waterway rose significantly last summer after a series of mysterious explosions targeted a number of oil tankers.
The US, which quickly blamed Iran for the incidents without providing conclusive evidence along with other countries such as Saudi Arabia, has since deployed thousands of troops and military equipment to the region.
Washington has also used the mysterious Persian Gulf explosions as a rallying call to form a so-called naval coalition in the Persian Gulf.
Iran has repeatedly rejected the accusations and has condemned the foreign military deployments.
Iran has stressed that regional cooperation and the rejection of foreign interference are key to settling tensions in the vital energy hub.