“[The] Persian Gulf is a vital lifeline and thus [a] nat’l security priority for Iran, which has long ensured maritime security,” Zarif said in his tweet. “Mindful of this reality, any extra-regional presence is by definition [a] source of insecurity ... Iran won’t hesitate to safeguard its security,” Zarif wrote.
Britain said on Monday it was joining the United States in the maritime security mission in the Persian Gulf to protect vessels after Iran seized a British-flagged tanker for violating maritime rules.
Traffic in the Strait of Hormuz, through which about a fifth of the world’s oil passes, has become the focus of a standoff between Iran and the United States after President Donald Trump quit a 2015 nuclear pact and reimposed sanctions on Tehran.
Iran says the responsibility of securing these waters lies with Tehran and other countries in the region.
Earlier in the day, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi pointed to “the illegitimate existence” of Israel in the Middle East as a source of insecurity and instability.
He highlighted that Iran considers the possible Israeli presence in the US-led coalition in the Persian Gulf as a clear threat to its national security, and reserves the right to counter it.
“Within the framework of the country’s deterrence and defensive policy, the Islamic Republic of Iran reserves the right to counter this threat and defend its territory,” Mousavi noted.
“The US regime and the illegitimate Zionist regime are responsible for all the consequences of this dangerous move,” the spokesman added.
Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said on August 7 that the regime would be part of the US-led coalition to “protect the security of the Persian Gulf.”
Katz claimed that Israel was determined to stop “Iranian entrenchment” in the Middle East region and strengthen Tel Aviv’s relationship with Persian Gulf countries, Israeli news website Ynet reported.
On Thursday, Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami warned against the consequences of a maritime coalition force the US plans to create in the Persian Gulf, stressing that regional security comes within the purview of regional states alone.
In separate telephone conversations with his Kuwaiti, Qatari and Omani counterparts, Brigadier General Hatami underscored that “The military coalition that the US wants to form under the pretext of providing shipping security will only further escalate insecurity in the region.”
“Security of the region is a common concern of Iran and the Persian Gulf neighbors; therefore, we believe that security must be provided by the regional countries, who should enter constructive negotiations in this regard,” the Iranian defense minister noted.
The US has so far failed to convince its allies to join the coalition amid its attempts to reduce Iran’s foreign oil sales as part of its sanctions targeting the Islamic Republic.
On June 30, the US officially asked Germany to participate – alongside Britain – in the coalition, a request that was declined by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas a day later.
“At the moment, the Britons would rather join an American mission. We won’t do it,” Maas said earlier this week, after previously stressing that “there can be no military solution” to the standoff in the region.
Germany is, however, not Washington’s only European ally to have been unwilling to be part of its naval force. France has also been reluctant to join the mission.
In Asia, Japan has also refused to join the coalition.
Japan’s government sources said on Thursday that Tokyo may send vessels to patrol off Yemen rather than join the US-led coalition, according to japantoday.com.
The administration of Prime Minister Abe Shinzo is reluctant to send the Maritime Self-Defense Force to the Strait of Hormuz, a key sea lane through which around a fifth of the world’s oil passes, out of concern that doing so could hurt Tokyo’s friendly ties with Tehran.
But it is under mounting pressure from Washington to participate in the US effort, with the Pentagon chief Mark Esper earlier this week urging Japan to “strongly consider” it, the Japanese media said.
Despite the US efforts against Iran, one of Washington’s closest allies in the Persian Gulf region is also trying to restore ties with Iran.
Recently, a delegation from the United Arab Emirates visited Tehran and signed a memorandum of understanding to enhance maritime border security cooperation.
Reuters and Press TV contributed to this story.