Iran and other Persian Gulf states could protect the region’s security and foreign forces were not needed, President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday, repeating a longstanding rejection of a US maritime security mission in the region.
“There is no need for foreign forces to ensure security and stability in the Persian Gulf. The countries of the region can maintain their security through unity and dialogue, and no doubt they will not benefit from US claims and actions,” Rouhani said at a cabinet meeting.
Rouhani said the US and others are after sowing the seeds of discord among regional Muslim countries and emptying their coffers.
He said regional countries have historically had and will continue to enjoy brotherly relations, stressing that any division and discord will only benefit their enemies.
“Throughout history, the countries of the region have been and will be neighbors and brothers, and their division is in favor of the enemies,” Rouhani said.
The United States has announced plans to form a coalition to supposedly protect shipping in the Strait of Hormuz from what it calls an Iranian threat following a series of mysterious attacks on oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman.
Washington has accused Iran of having a hand in those attacks, a claim Tehran has strongly rejected. Tehran has warned that such sabotage operations may be part of a general ploy to target Iran amid increasing regional tensions.
The US has asked its allies, including Germany, Japan, France, Britain and Israel, to join the coalition.
The call has, however, not been warmly received, with Israel and Britain becoming the only parties which have said flat out that they would join the alliance.
Rouhani also scoffed at an Israeli plan to join the US-led maritime coalition, 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.
He called Israel the main element behind terrorism, warfare, and bloodletting in the region and said, “Wherever they established a presence, they brought about bloodshed and terror.”
“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.
Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said on August 7 that Tel Aviv would be part of such a US-led coalition to “protect the security of the Persian Gulf.”
Katz said that Israel was determined to stop “Iranian entrenchment” in the Middle East and strengthen its relationship with Persian Gulf countries.
A day afterwards, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi said Iran considered such possible Israeli presence in the region to be a clear threat to its national security, and reserved the right to counter it.
Rouhani likewise denounced Tel Aviv’s “hollow statements” about a role in “providing security” in the region.
He described all the slogans being advertised about the creation of a new naval coalition in the region as “ostentatious and impracticable.”
Reuters and Press TV contributed to this story.