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 Zionist regime 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.
In similar remarks on Saturday, Brigadier General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan, a high-ranking Iranian commander and former Army Ground Force chief, highlighted some major countries’ refusal to join the US-led military coalition in the Persian Gulf, saying the alliance has failed even before its formation.
Some major countries, including Germany, Spain, and Japan, have said they will not participate in the US-led naval mission in the Strait of Hormuz.
The developments come against the backdrop of increased tensions between Iran and the US after the Islamic Republic shot down an advanced US spy drone over its territorial waters.
The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) said on June 20 that a US spy drone that violated the Iranian territorial airspace in the early hours of the day was shot down by the IRGC Aerospace Force’s air defense unit near the Kooh-e-Mobarak region in the southern province of Hormozgan.
The intruding drone was reportedly shot by Iran’s homegrown air defense missile system “Khordad-3rd”.
Later on the same day, US President Donald Trump said he had called off a retaliatory attack on a number of targets in Iran and said that he was ready to speak with Iranian leaders and come to an understanding that would allow the country to improve its economic prospects. “What I’d like to see with Iran, I’d like to see them call me.”
“I look forward to the day where we can actually help Iran. We’re not looking to hurt Iran,” Trump added.
However, on June 24 Trump announced new sanctions against top Iranian officials, including the office of Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, Iran’s foreign minister, and senior commanders of the IRGC.