President Hassan Rouhani says Iran has the responsibility for securing the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf and will decisively confront any attempt at destabilizing the strategic waters.
“We will not allow anyone to try to disrupt order in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz,” the chief executive told a government meeting in Tehran on Wednesday.
“It is Iran and the other littoral states, which are chiefly responsible for securing the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormoz, and the [security] issue has nothing to do with others The Iranian nation has always acted as the guardian of the Persian Gulf,” Rouhani emphasized.
Rouhani strongly warned against acts of “mischief” in the Persian Gulf as well as violations of the international maritime law governing the body of water, calling on all sides to heed the warnings of the naval forces of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) in the Strait of Hormuz — which has been in charge of ensuring security in the maritime bottleneck.
‘World should thank IRGC’
The president further hailed the IRGC’s recent capture of a law-breaking British-flagged oil tanker, which had collided with a fishing boat in the Strait and ignored its repeated distress calls as a “very precise, professional, and correct” step.
“I believe that the entire world should be grateful to the IRGC for the security in the Persian Gulf,” Rouhani said.
Besides safeguarding the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, he added, Iran endeavors to contribute to maritime security in other international waterways such as the Bab al-Mandab Strait and the Indian Ocean, referring to the country’s numerous successful anti-piracy missions and patrols in the high seas.
The president further slammed the illegal seizure of an Iranian supertanker by UK British naval forces off the coast of Gibraltar earlier this month.
“We are not after keeping up tensions with certain European countries. If they abide by international regulations and stop taking unlawful measures like what they did in Gibraltar, they will receive a befitting response from Iran,” Rouhani added.
Iran ‘will lose no chance for fair dialog’
The president further touched on a decision by Iran to suspend some of its commitments under a multilateral 2015 nuclear deal on a stage-by-stage basis after the US left the accord and unleashed a harsh campaign of economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
Iran made the decision after the remaining European signatories to deal —namely France, Britain and the UK — failed to fulfill their end of the bargain by protecting Iran against the American sanctions.
Tehran says those reductions are line with its legal rights under the deal and will be reversible as soon as the European side fulfills its side of the accord.
Rouhani further said the Islamic Republic would never lose any chance for negotiation as far as it is fair and based on mutual respect.
Tehran, though, would take another step towards reducing its nuclear obligations if it is faced with continued violations of its legal rights.
Iran not in the habit of acting obstinately…, but would not submit to bullying,” he added.