Iran blasts US illegal deployment in region

FNA – Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Mousavi rapped the US for illegal presence in the region, saying that Washington should withdraw from the region.

“Principally, we do not recognize the Americans’ presence, specially, their military presence in the Persian Gulf region, ad consider it as illegal and against the stability and security in the region,” Mousavi told reporters in Tehran on Monday.

He said that in some cases, the American warships deployed in the Persian Gulf have prevented the free and legal voyage of the Iranian forces patrolling the region and have received warnings from Iran.

“The unjustified and illegal presence of Americans distorts the freedom of shipping and regional stability and security,” Mousavi said.

He also added that there is no hotline between the Iranian and American military and state officials, noting that the Iranian and American vessels have radio contacts based on the international rules.

Last Tuesday, Iranian Armed Forces Spokesman Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi warned that Washington will sustain heavier blow in case of repeating its mistakes against Iran.

“The Americans have certainly experienced that if they make the slightest move and aggression against the Islamic Republic’s territorial waters and our people’s interests, they will be slapped in the face stronger than the past because we do not joke with anyone in defending our country,” General Shekarchi said in an interview with the state TV.

He underlined that the world public opinion should know that the Americans are violating the international laws and making troubles [in the Persian Gulf], on one hand, and lying that they are on the right side, on the other hand, adding that if they make a mistake and receive a crushing response, the world should know that they deserved it.

General Shekarchi said that the regional states are themselves able to establish security in the region, and asked, “What are the Americans after in this region and what do their warships, fighters and combat units do in this region?”

The IRGC last month strongly rejected the Pentagon’s recent claims about the harassment of the US naval forces by the IRGC boats in the Persian Gulf as a “Hollywood” story, and further warned against the US Navy’s new “unprofessional and dangerous” moves in the waterway.

“In recent weeks, we have witnessed a repetition of the terrorist US Navy’s unprofessional behavior in the Persian Gulf threatening security and tranquillity and posing new dangers to the region,” a statement by the IRGC Navy’s Public Relations Office said.

It added that in recent weeks, including on April 6 and April 7, the US warships in a dangerous move blocked the voyage of Iranian ship, Shahid Siavashi, on two separate occasions in the region, but were forced to step back after the IRGC warnings and the professional and smart moves of the Iranian vessel.

The statement said that the IRGC Navy has increased its patrolling boats in the Persian Gulf “to stop the US forces’ continued illegal, unprofessional, dangerous and even adventurist behavior”.

In the same context and after declaring that it is conducting drills in the region and there is a threat of shoorting in the drill zone, a group of IRGC vessels, including 11 boats, on a mission to patrol the drill zone on April 15 confronted the US warships and “despite their unprofessional and provocative measures and disrespect for the warnings, forced them to evacuate the IRGC Navy vessels’ sailing path with firm resistance and bravery”.

It added that the US Fifth Fleet in the region has released an incorrect and biased reading of the incident which shows the Americans’ interest in Hollywood stories.

“We advise the Americans to respect the international rules and naval protocols in the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman rathern than adventurism, fake stories and lies,” the IRGC statement said, and further warned that “the powerful IRGC Navy and Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran assess foreign forces’ dangerous behaviors in the region as a threat to [Iran’s] national security and a redline and will hence, give a crushing response to any such miscalculation”.

It reiterated that the illegitimate presence of the US in the region is a source of mischief and insecurity, and described the US withdrawal from West Asia as the only way to establish sustainable security in the strategic region.

The US fifth fleet had claimed that a group of eleven Iranian naval vessels harassed six US navy vessels in the Northern Persian Gulf for about an hour, with one coming within just ten yards of a Coast Guard cutter.

The “dangerous and provocative actions increased the risk of miscalculation and collision … and were not in accordance with the obligation under international law to act with due regard for the safety of other vessels in the area,” the fleet, which is based in Bahrain, claimed in a statement.