Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Navy Commander Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri has warned that any illegitimate Israeli presence in the Persian Gulf could spark a confrontation in the region, and that the responsibility for the consequences lies with the United States and the UK.
“The United States and the United Kingdom must assume responsibility for the Zionist regime’s illegal presence in the Persian Gulf waters. Any presence of the Zionist regime in the Persian Gulf waters is illegal, as it may result in war and confrontation in the region”, he told the Lebanese TV channel Al Mayadeen on Sunday.
Tangsiri, who was among multiple Iranian officials sanctioned by the US on 24 June, is also said to have claimed that “whenever our commanders wish so, they are able to detain any ship, even if it is accompanied by American and British forces”.
“By establishing an illegal coalition in the region, the US and the UK are trying to implement their own scenarios. The security of the Persian Gulf is among Iran’s priorities, and we believe Iran’s shipping lanes must remain international”, he said.
The IRGC commander continued by emphasising that the elite unite’s Navy was responsible for ensuring the security of the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf, and did not need the presence of foreigners there.
“Iran is the flag-bearer of security in the Persian Gulf, but that hinges on the export of our oil and the country’s ability to use the region. We’ll ensure the security of the Persian Gulf as long as our own security is ensured”.
His stark warnings followed reports about Israel agreeing to take part in a US-led international naval coalition in the Persian Gulf, which Washington claims is aimed at securing navigation routes for vessels in the wake of a series of oil tanker incidents there.
According to Ynet News, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz told a closed session of the Knesset Foreign Affairs & Defence Committee last week that Tel Aviv would provide assistance in intelligence and other “unspecified fields” to the US-led mission, known as Operation Sentinel.