Iraq says the deployment of Western forces in the area “fuels regional tensions”
Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, has accused the United States and its allies of turning the Gulf into a “ready-to-blow powder magazine” on Monday. “If we talk about threats that come from countries in the region, the threats come from the United States and its allies, which are flooding the region with weapons.”
Zarif, who met Monday with the Emir of Qatar, Tamim Bin Hamad al Thani and – according to Iranian state media – conveyed this message, has also referred to the naval crisis of oil tankers following the abandonment by Washington on Last year of the nuclear agreement with Tehran signed in 2015 for the country to limit the development of its atomic industry in exchange for the progressive lifting of international sanctions. The Strait of Hormuz “is narrow and will become less secure if [foreign] vessels increase their presence in it,” said the minister, included this month in the US sanctions list. Both the United States and the United Kingdom have tried to involve other European countries, with no results so far, in a military deployment in the Gulf to ensure navigation through the Strait of Hormuz.
On day 4, Iran captured a new foreign oil tanker in the Persian Gulf under the accusation of smuggling fuel and arrested its seven crew members. It was the third ship boarded by the naval forces of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in less than a month, after the British flag tanker Stena Impero was seized and another tanker – the Riah, with a Panamanian flag – was registered before it was Let him follow his path. Meanwhile, oil tanker Grace 1 was captured by the British Navy in Gibraltar waters on charges of violating the fuel embargo on Syria.
Iraq, which maintains good relations with both capitals, has warned Monday that the deployment of Western forces fuels regional tensions. “The Gulf States can secure naval transit together,” tweeted its Foreign Minister, Mohammed al-Hakim. “Iraq is trying to reduce tensions through discrete negotiations. The presence of US forces in the region will increase tension,” he added.
Qatar, which hosts one of the largest US military bases in the Middle East, is trying not to be swept away by the growing conflict between Washington and Tehran.