Iran‘s top Navy officer has warned attempts from Israel to position their military in the Persian Gulf will “spark a war”. Israel is believed to be considering joining a US-led coalition to act as a protective force against Iranian aggression in the Strait of Hormuz after repeated skirmishes between the Iranian Navy and international vessels. Rear-Admiral Alireza Tangsiri told Lebanese TV channel Al-Mayadeen: “Any illegitimate presence by the Zionists in the waters of the Persian Gulf could spark a war.
“The United States and the United Kingdom must assume responsibility for the Zionist regime’s illegal presence in the Gulf waters.”
The Rear-Admiral also defended his country’s seizure of British vessel Stena Impero on July 22, insisting Iran has the right to defend access to the Strait of Hormuz for Iranian ships.
He continued: “Whenever our commanders wish so, they are able to detain any ship, even if it is accompanied by American and British forces.
“The security of the Persian Gulf is among Iran’s priorities, and we believe Iran’s shipping lanes must remain international.”
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Rear Admiral Tangsiri added: “Iran is the flag-bearer of security in the Persian Gulf, but that hinges on the export of our oil and the country’s ability to use the region. We’ll ensure the security of Persian Gulf as long as our own security is ensured.”
Israeli website Ynet last week reported Foreign Minister Israel Katz had told members of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Jerusalem is working with the US to increase vessels’ security in the Strait of Hormuz.
Last month Israel and the United States announced they had successfully tested their joint Arrow 3 defence system amid growing tension with Iran.
Washington Strategy Group leader Joel Rubin, who worked under George W Bush and Barack Obama in the White House, warned that the next step to take for the US would be “military strikes” against Tehran.
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“The danger we have with Iran is that right now we are heading into a military confrontation with them.”
The relationship between the US and Iran has worsened since President Donald Trump announced he would no longer abide by the Iran nuclear deal his predecessor, Barack Obama, signed up to.
However the other signatories to the agreement, France, Britain, Germany, Russia, China and the EU, have angered Mr Trump by continuing to support the agreement.
Over the past few months a number of tankers have been attacked with explosive devices while passing through the Persian Gulf, which the US blames on Iran. Tehran has consistently denied the claims and said the incidents had nothing to do with them.