News ID: 254768
Published: 0429 GMT June 23, 2019

UN warns against ‘escalation’ of tensions in Persian Gulf

UN warns against ‘escalation’ of tensions in Persian Gulf

The United Nations (UN)’s Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned against “any form of escalation” in the Persian Gulf, amid threats of military strikes by the United States against Iran.

“The world cannot afford a major confrontation [in] the [Persian] Gulf. Everybody must keep nerves of steel. It’s absolutely essential to avoid any form of escalation,” the UN chief said in brief remarks on the sidelines of an event in Portugal on Sunday, without referring to any country by name, Presstv Reported.

On Thursday, Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) shot downa US spy drone that had intruded into Iranian airspace in the southern coastal province of Hormozgan.

Shortly afterwards, Iran provided the map coordinates of the precise spot where the drone had been shot. The US first denied that any of its drones had been hit and acknowledged the shooting down only later. It took the US even more time to produce any map coordinates, alleging that the drone had been targeted in international airspace.

US President Donald Trump then ordered the US military to conduct supposed retaliatory strikes against several positions in Iran but then abruptly called off the attacks.

Iran, which collected the drone’s wreckage in its waters, offered more detailed information — including about the drone’s entire path and its launch base in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) — on Saturday.

Despite the order by Trump for the US military to stand down, speculation remains that the US president may rethink his position. Trump’s national security team comprises of known Iran hawks.

The tensions in the Persian Gulf first ratcheted up earlier this month, when two oil tankers in the Sea of Oman were presumably attacked under murky circumstances. The US has said the attacks were carried out by Iran, which has strongly rejected the allegation.

UAE calls for dialog

Additionally on Sunday, the UAE called for negotiations to settle the tensions between Washington and Tehran, suggesting that the tensions could only be defused “politically.”

The crisis in the Persian Gulf region “requires collective attention, primarily to de-escalate and to find political solutions through dialog and negotiations,” Anwar Gargash, the UAE minister of state for foreign affairs, said in a Twitter post. He also stressed that “regional voices” were “important to achieve sustainable solutions.”

His remarks came just a day after Iran summoned the charge d’affaires of the UAE to protest Abu Dhabi’s decision to “put its installations at the disposal of foreign forces for aggression.”

Tensions between Iran and the US have been high since May 2018, when Trump backed out of a multilateral deal with Iran and imposed rounds of sanctions on the country.

On Saturday, Trump said that he would impose new sanctions on Iran, apparently over the downing of the drone.



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