“Troubling the oil tankers is a violation of international laws and security. Both international organizations and countries which are sensitive to the laws and waterways’ security should certainly show reaction to such an act,” General Hatami told reporters after a cabinet meeting in Tehran on Wednesday.
He described any possible US trouble-making for the Iranian tankers in the free waters as “piracy”.
“Of course, our policy is fully clear and we have clearly announced that we will not tolerate any disturbance. The Americans and others know that we certainly do not hesitate to react to any such move and if the disturbances increase and continue, they will certainly face a firm response,” General Hatami said.
Reuters had quoted a senior official in President Donald Trump’s administration as saying last Thursday that the United States is considering measures it could take in response to Iran’s shipment of fuel to Venezuela.
“…we’re looking at measures that can be taken,” the official added, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Informed sources told Nour News website, close to Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), that the US has sent four of its combat warships along with Boeing P-8 Poseidon fighters to the Caribbean.
In response to the US threats, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to caution over likely US menace against Iranian oil tankers in the Caribbean, stressing that America would be responsible for ensuing consequences.
Zarif described the US’ provocative threats as piracy and a big threat to world peace and security, stressing that the US must stop bullying in the world and respect the rule of the international law, especially freedom of shipping in high seas.
Calling the US government responsible for the repercussions of any illegal move, the top diplomat underlined Iran’s right to take necessary measures to counter these threats.
Furthermore, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi summoned the Swiss ambassador, representing US interests in Tehran, to express the country’s intensive protest at US provocations.
Araqchi called on the Swiss envoy to convey Iran’s serious warning to the US officials against any likely threat posed by the US to Iran’s oil tankers.
He noted that Iran and Venezuela enjoy “completely legitimate and legal commercial ties,” adding that the US resorting to bullying measures will be considered as a menace to “free shipping, international trade and the free flow of energy.”
Such measures, the Iranian diplomat said, are flagrant examples of piracy and explicit violation of international laws and, as such, defy the goals and principles explicated in the UN Charter.
He also warned that any threat against the Iranian ships will ensue Iran’s prompt and categorical reaction, and the US administration will be responsible for their consequences.
The Swiss envoy, for his part, said he will instantly convey Iran’s message to the US administration and inform the Iranian government of the results as soon as possible.
Also, the Iranian foreign ministry warned on Monday that any hostile act by Washington against the country’s oil tankers in the international waters will face a crushing response.
“What the Americans have said about our oil tankers is illegal and if they make a move, they will face Iran’s reaction,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Mousavi told reporters via a video conference.
He noted that Iran has given the necessary advice to the Americans via the Swiss embassy, which represents the US interests in Tehran, and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has also written a letter to the UN chief in this regard, expressing the hope that Washington does not make any “stupid” move.
“Free trade among independent states is a legitimate issue. The US in Trump era is disturbing the global order and is after global anarchism,” Mousavi said.
Also on Monday, Iranian Government Spokesman Ali Rabiyee confirmed his country’s exports of gasoline to Venezuela, warning against any US hostile act against Iran’s tankers in the international waters.
“Iran has sent the gasoline tankers at the demand of Venezuelan government. No state is duty-bound to implement the US-desired sanctions,” Rabiyee told reporters in Tehran.
He called on the international society to show reaction to the US illegal warnings about its imminent action against the Iranian oil tankers in the international waters, and said, “The US has a record of piracy.”
“It is still soon to speak about the reactions, but we consider all options and hope that the Americans will not make any mistake,” Rabiyee said.