Iraq slams Israel participation in Gulf naval mission

Javad Zarif and Hassan Rouhani

"The United States and the United Kingdom must assume responsibility for the Zionist regime's illegal presence in the Persian Gulf waters", IRGC Navy Commander Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri told the Lebanese TV channel Al Mayadeen on Sunday. "Any presence of the Zionist regime in the Persian Gulf waters is illegal, as it may result in war and confrontation in the region".

The UK dispatched the warship HMS Kent to the Persian Gulf on Monday as part of the US-led maritime security mission in the area.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, for his part, claimed that the U.S. had failed to create an allied naval coalition in the Persian Gulf because Washington is "alone in the world" and "countries that are its friends are too ashamed" to join a coalition with Washington.

In response, the USA has launched its mission, Operation Sentinel, in an attempt to ensure complete freedom of navigation in the Gulf.

He underlined that the world and the regional countries must know Iran will ensure the security of the Strait of Hormuz as long as its oil is allowed to be exported through the waterway. In Arab countries it is common to just use "the Gulf" to refer to the Persian Gulf.

Earlier, Washington's request for Berlin to join the United States mission was rejected by a German official, who said that he remains "very sceptical" about the mission, which he warned "may fuel military escalation in the Gulf". Special Aide to the President of the Islamic Parliament, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, wrote on Twitter last week that if Israel does get involved in the worldwide coalition in the Straits of Hormuz, then "it will be engulfed in wrath of the region and its smoke will rise from Tel Aviv".

It is not clear if Israel has been asked to participate.

The statement comes a few days after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the UK's move to join a US-led Gulf coalition a "victory for meaningful, effective multi-lateralism", pointing to Britain's "centuries of maritime expertise".

Japan has likewise refused to join the force, and France has expressed reservations.

The US and its Gulf allies have accused the Islamic Republic of the tanker attacks.

Iran has categorically rejected the charges.

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