US-led Persian Gulf mission will sow insecurity in region: Defense minister
Defense minister of Islamic Republic of Iran says a United States-proposed coalition, which Washington purports would seek to beef up maritime security in the Strait of Hormuz, will foment insecurity in the region.
Such a coalition "will only increase regional insecurity," Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami told his Kuwaiti, Qatari, and Omani counterparts during separate telephone conversations on Thursday, IRNA reported.
Hatami added that regional security could only be provided by regional countries, noting that foreign presence here would have insecurity and instability as its only concomitants.
The senior Iranian defense official, meanwhile, described the US as "the main factor behind insecurity in the region," and stated, "We are of the opinion that all regional countries are entitled to security. We denounce insecurity in any single one of these countries or [its use] against one of them as unacceptable."
"We believe the region should not turn into a place for extra-regional elements to rampage,” he added.
Elsewhere in his remarks, the Iranian defense chief said the Islamic Republic has spared no effort to ensure security in the Persian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, or the Sea of Oman as it considers security to be the common objective sought the Islamic Republic and its regional neighbors.
"Therefore, we believe that security [of the region] must be provided by regional countries and countries in the region must enter into constructive talks in this regard," the Iranian defense minister said.
Hatami's comments came after Iran and the United Arab Emirates signed a memorandum of understanding to enhance maritime border security cooperation.
The defense minister also addressed reports pointing to Israel's inclination to join the proposed Washington-fronted Persian Gulf coalition.
"Such a possible move could be very provocative, and can have catastrophic implications for the region," he said.
For his part, Kuwait's Defense Minister Sheikh Nasser Bin Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah said his country favored reinforcement of its relations with the Islamic Republic, adding that Kuwait "respects Iran's determining and influential position in preserving regional peace and stability."
Qatari defense chief Khalid bin Mohammad Al Attiyah also said Doha had no doubt that regional security has to be ensured by the countries lying on both sides of the Persian Gulf, describing Iran as an important country when it comes to providing security for the strategic waterway.
Badr bin Saud bin Harib al-Busaidi, Oman's defense minister, also insisted on further regional involvement aimed at securing the region, and called for continuation of "close coordination and cooperation" between regional countries, especially their naval forces, towards ensuring security in the Strait of Hormuz.