Iran says US-led maritime coalition will create instability

Iran’s defense minister has told regional defense officials that the US-proposed military coalition in the Persian Gulf would lead to instability.

al-monitor A US Marine UH-1Y Venom helicopter takes off from the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer during transit through Strait of Hormuz in Gulf of Oman, Arabian Sea, July 18, 2019. Photo by Dalton Swanbeck/US Navy/REUTERS.

Aug 8, 2019

Iran’s Defense Minister Amir Hatami discussed the US-proposed coalition to monitor the Persian Gulf region in a phone conversation with defense officials from Kuwait, Qatar and Oman. Hatami said, “We are committed to the security of the Persian Gulf.” 

Hatami continued, “The Islamic Republic has spared no action in protecting navigation in the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman.” He added, “Regional security is a common interest of Iran and other neighbors in the Persian Gulf and therefore we believe security should be guaranteed by regional countries and regional countries should enter constructive talks in this field.”

Hatami argued, “America is the prime agent of instability in the region,” and “The military coalition America pursues with the excuse of shipping security will result in increasing instability.” 

The United Kingdom recently announced that it would join the US mission to protect oil tankers in the Persian Gulf after Iran seized three tankers in recent months, one of them its own. Iran’s seizure of the British tanker came after the UK seized an Iranian tanker off of the coast of Gibraltar. Iran has denied taking the British tanker in retaliation but President Hassan Rouhani recently remarked at a cabinet meeting, “A strait for a strait. It can’t be that the Strait of Hormuz is free for you and the Strait of Gibraltar is not free for us.” 

Regarding reports that Israel would join the US coalition, Hatami said, “Such an act would be extremely provocative and could have tragic consequences for the region.” 

The head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Hossein Salami, also discussed Israel and the US military coalition in his latest speech on Aug. 8. “The Islamic Republic is in a full-scale war,” Salami said. “Imperial governments have formed an evil coalition and continuously put us under political, economic, cultural and even security pressure.” Reiterating a common belief among Iranian officials that US power is in decline in the region, Salami said, “Next to the bitter reality of imperial enmity against the Islamic system, there is a sweet reality and it is that the sun of the enemy is setting.” 

Regarding a possible US-Iran war, Salami said, “Any new war will endanger the survival of the Zionist regime and bring about an irreversible collapse, and it is a futile thought they can bring the Islamic Republic to its knees.” 

Ever since President Donald Trump exited the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the United States has been conducting a "maximum pressure" campaign against Iran. The United States says it wants Iran to enter new negotiations to sign a new nuclear deal. Tehran says it will talk to Washington, but only about reentering the original nuclear deal. Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi said Aug. 8 that given the steps the United States has taken since exiting the deal, Trump “will take his desire to negotiate with Iran to the grave.” The United States has reimposed sanctions on the country as well as individual sanctions such as those on Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. 

More from  Iran

Iran officials weigh in on US protests
Al-Monitor Staff | Trump | Jun 1, 2020
Iran claims nuclear program will continue after end of US waivers
Al-Monitor Staff | Sanctions | May 28, 2020
Iran opens new parliament packed with Rouhani critics
Al-Monitor Staff | Iran-US tensions | May 27, 2020
Speculation grows in Iran about outgoing parliament speaker's possible presidential bid
Sarbas Nazari | | May 28, 2020