Iran strongly defends interests in territorial waters: Commander warns Israel

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The head of Iran’s Passive Defense Organization has warned against possible Israeli presence in a US-led coalition in the Persian Gulf, stressing that the Islamic Republic is dead serious when it comes to defending national interests in its territorial waters.

“Iran powerfully defends its national interests in its territorial waters and wherever national interests require so, and it is completely serious in this regard,” Brigadier General Gholamreza Jalali said on Wednesday. Stressing that the US is seeking to stoke insecurity in the Persian Gulf, the senior commander said on the contrary, “Iran seeks to promote collective security in the region and … pursues this significant job through joint cooperation with its neighbors in the view of [ensuring]common interests.” Jalali described the Israeli regime as the source of insecurity in West Asia and said how such an occupying regime was supposed to provide security in the Persian Gulf.  “Anyway, if enemies are seeking to wage a war, they will undoubtedly receive a firm and crushing response from our brave soldiers as they have witnessed our might before,” he noted. The Iranian commander challenged Israel’s claim that it was seeking to boost security around the strategic Strait of Hormuz, saying if the Israelis are really capable of providing security, they had better protect themselves in the face of resistance fighters in Palestine and Lebanon. He also stressed that the US-led coalition is doomed to failure.

The remarks came after Israel said it will join what the US calls an effort to boost security of navigation in the Persian Gulf. Israeli foreign minister Israel Katz claimed that Israel was seeking to assist US-led efforts to boost security around the strategic Strait of Hormuz and was determined to stop “Iranian entrenchment” in the Middle East region and strengthen Tel Aviv’s relationship with Persian Gulf countries. The US has announced plans to form the force amid its attempts to disrupt Iran’s foreign oil sales as part of its sanctions targeting the Islamic Republic. Earlier on Wednesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani scoffed at the Israeli plan to join the US-led maritime coalition in the Persian Gulf region, saying the regime is not even capable of securing the areas it has occupied.

The Israelis “should try providing security where they are if they are really capable of doing that,” Rouhani said at a cabinet meeting. “No one should be baited by these claims and statements [about Israel’s potential presence in the Persian Gulf]because it is clear to all how it would end,” the president noted. Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has also warned that any Israeli presence in the Persian Gulf may result in a war in the region.

“Any presence of the Zionist regime in the Persian Gulf waters is illegal, as it may result in war and confrontation in the region,” IRGC Navy Commander Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri told the Lebanese TV channel Al Mayadeen on Sunday.

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