Roundup: Iran warns presence of foreign forces cause tension in region

Source: Xinhua| 2019-07-29 02:12:52|Editor: yan
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TEHRAN, July 28 (Xinhua) -- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday that the presence of foreign forces in the region is the main cause of the regional tension.

Iran "makes an effort to make the Sea of Oman, Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz a safe and secure route for international shipping," Rouhani said during his meeting with visiting Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, Omani minister responsible for foreign affairs.

Iran and Oman have the main responsibility for security in the Strait of Hormuz, he was quoted as saying by Tehran Times daily.

"If we seek progress and development in the region, all of us should make efforts in line with maintaining stability and security in the region," the Iranian president noted.

Iran has never initiated and will never initiate tension in the region, he said, adding the current regional tension is caused by the U.S. unilateral withdrawal from the Iranian 2015 nuclear deal.

Earlier in the day, Iran's government spokesman Ali Rabiei warned the Europeans against a plan to potentially deploy their naval forces to the Gulf.

The security of the region should be protected by the regional states, and Iran has a pivotal role in maintaining this security, Rabiei said at his weekly press conference.

"Such measures bear a hostile message and would stir tensions," he added.

The idea to deploy a joint European naval mission to the Gulf to escort oil tankers was put forward by the British government on July 22.

Iran recently seized the British oil tanker, Stena Impero, in the Strait of Hormuz, after British authorities detained an Iranian oil tanker earlier this month in the Strait of Gibraltar on the allegations that "it was breaching EU sanctions on Syria."

However, Iran denied that its tanker was heading to Syria, saying Stena Impero was only captured for "violating maritime regulations."

"Britain will suffer harms for seizing Iran's oil tanker," Rouhani noted on Sunday.

For his part, the Omani foreign minister said regional security is not possible without Iran.

"Iran and Oman should make every effort to maintain long lasting stability and security in the region, despite all challenges they face," Abdullah was quoted as saying by official IRNA news agency.

On Saturday, Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani defended his country's seizure of the British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, saying Iran's measure was "legal."

"We believe all countries need to respect international maritime law in order to help maintain security, and we make no exceptions for any country in this regard," Shamkhani said in his meeting with Abdullah in Tehran.

"Unlike Britain's piracy in the Strait of Gibraltar, where it illegally confiscated an Iranian oil tanker, Iran's measure has been completely legal and in line with maritime regulations and security," Shamkhani was quoted as saying by state TV.