Tehran, Aug 16 (EFE).- The Iranian military on Wednesday warned the United States, United Kingdom, France and Israel to end their “illegal presence” in the Persian Gulf waters, days after Washington deployed thousands of troops to the Red Sea region.
“The United States, the Zionist regime (Israel), France and the United Kingdom want to legitimize their presence and remain in the Persian Gulf, the Oman Sea, and the regional waters of West Asia,” said Iranian armed forces spokesperson Brigadier-General Abolfazl Shekarchi.
“Their presence is illegal and they have to leave the area,” said Shekarchi, as quoted by the semi-official Tasnim news agency.
Shekarchi called on certain regional countries “not to be influenced by the enemies’ psychological warfare and to be careful that they don’t provoke them into a conflict with the Islamic Republic.”
The Iranian military’s warning comes days after the US deployed 3,000 military personnel in the Red Sea on board two warships, bringing additional aviation and naval assets to provide “greater flexibility and maritime capability,” in the region.
The US Central Command recently said that Iran has either seized or attempted to take control of nearly 20 internationally flagged merchant ships in the tense Gulf waterways over the past two years.
The Persian Gulf has been witness to several incidents in recent years, including attacks on oil tankers and cargo ships amid tensions between Iran and the United States.
Shekarchi reiterated that Tehran would not hold talks with any country over the three isles of Abu Musa, Greater Tunb and Lesser Tunb, which are claimed by both Tehran and the United Arab Emirates, but have been under Iran’s control since 1971.
“These islands belong one hundred percent to the Islamic Republic,” he underlined.
Iran is also in dispute over some other isles and oil fields with Gulf Cooperation Council members in the region including Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. EFE