0458 GMT February 22, 2020
Speaking at a UN Security Council meeting on Middle East peace and security challenges in New York on Tuesday, Majid Takht-Ravanchi described the deployment of more than 70,000 US servicemen as one of the main reasons behind insecurity and instability in the Middle East region, emphasizing that Pentagon has active military presence in all Persian Gulf states except Iran, according to Press TV.
“The number of foreign military installations in the Middle East has jumped from four in 1991 to 41 in 2018. Nearly all of them belong to the US, which mark the highest concentration of military sites in the world,” he said.
Takht-Ravanchi then pointed to the unilateral withdrawal of the US from the 2015 nuclear agreement, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as another source of instability in the Middle East, noting that “unbridled flow of American weaponry into this region, which has turned it into a powder keg.”
“The sole beneficiary of weapons stockpiling in the region is the defense industry of exporting countries. We should not ignore the US “divide-and-rule" mechanism, which seeks to sow seeds of permanent discord among regional states. The Iranophobic remarks by American officials are meant to accomplish such an objective.
“They have leveled unfounded accusations against Iran in order to justify their regional policies, and prevent the country from performing its role in the region,” the Iranian diplomat pointed out.
“While we are not seeking confrontation, we cannot and will not remain indifferent to the violation of our sovereignty. Therefore, in order to secure our borders and interests, we will vigorously exercise our inherent right to self-defense,” Takht-Ravanchi told the Security Council.
Iran’s envoy to the United Nations highlighted that Tehran will continue to ensure security of maritime navigation in the Middle East, particularly in the Strait of Hormuz, adding that the United States’ attempts to set up a military coalition in the Persian Gulf to counter what it calls the “Iran threat” will fail.
US Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on July 9 that the US was proceeding with plans to assemble the coalition purportedly aimed at ensuring freedom of navigation in waters off Iran and Yemen.
"We're engaging now with a number of countries to see if we can put together a coalition that would ensure freedom of navigation both in the Straits of Hormuz and the Bab al-Mandeb," Dunford said.
"And so I think probably over the next couple of weeks we'll identify which nations have the political will to support that initiative and then we'll work directly with the militaries to identify the specific capabilities that'll support that," he added.
US was isolated among its traditional allies, such as the UK, France and Japan, amid attempts to convince them to join the so-called Operation Sentinel, supposedly aimed at protecting commercial vessels traveling through the Persian Gulf.