Iran’s top military commander says the country’s military stands ready to defend its interests and protect its security in the Persian Gulf.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran is fully ready under the current circumstances to defend its security and interests in the Persian Gulf,” Chairman of Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri said while addressing cadets in China’s PLA National Defense University in Beijing on Thursday.
“History shows that we have never initiated [an act of] aggression or a war and will not do so, but we will firmly defend our security and sovereignty in case of any aggression or intervention by foreigners,” he added.
The senior military commander further reiterated Iran’s position that security of the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman, through which passes a major portion of all oil globally consumed, should be provided by regional states and not the foreigners.
He said the presence and deployment of forces from the US and other Western countries, and plans like the already failed US-led coalition in the Persian Gulf purportedly seeking to boost security in the region, have and will have no result but aggravated insecurity.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran has done its share of ensuring security of this sensitive region through the years and would continue to do so,” said Baqeri, adding, “However, it views the military presence of foreign powers as a major challenge to the security of the region.”
He said Iran’s policy for establishing regional security, especially in the West Asia region, was one of active contribution by all regional countries to build a “collective security structure.”
“In [pursuing] this policy, Iran would not tolerate hegemony and intervention of extraterritorial powers in regional affairs,” he said.
The Iranian commander further drew an analogy between the United States’ bid to frequent the Persian Gulf and its efforts to increase military presence in the East and interfere in other countries’ internal affairs, saying such policies would only undermine stability and lead to more crises in those regions.
General Baqeri arrived in Beijing on Wednesday morning at the head of a high-ranking military delegation for a three-day visit at the invitation of his Chinese counterpart to hold talks on regional developments and bilateral ties, including promotion of military cooperation.
The comments by the Iranian commander come months after an escalation of tensions in the Persian Gulf, where the US has been seeking more military presence in an alleged bid to contain Iran’s growing influence.
Iran has repeatedly warned that it would react to any attempt to undermine the security of the region or to make it difficult for the country to export its oil.
Last month, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said measures taken by some extra-regional countries, especially the United States, in the Persian Gulf region only serve to render the region’s problems more complicated and make it appear less secure in the eyes of the world.
In a phone conversation with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Rouhani said, “The goal of [all] measures taken by some extra-regional countries, including the United States, in the Persian Gulf region is to make the world believe this region is insecure,” emphasizing that “such measure only render the region’s problems more complicated and dangerous.”
“Iran attaches high importance to maintaining and consolidating security in the Persian Gulf region, the Strait of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman, and spares no effort in this regard, because it believes that maintaining this security will ensure development and interests of regional people,” Iran’s president said.