Iran denies rumors about military forces entering foreign ships in Persian Gulf
The Iranian Foreign Ministry has dismissed rumors about the entry of the country’s military forces into foreign ships passing in the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman, warning against such false reports propagated by the Western and Zionist media.
Saeed Khatibzadeh, the Foreign Ministry Spokesman, made the remark in an interview with Tasnim news agency on Tuesday after UK sources reported the “potential hijack” of a British vessel off the coast of the United Arab Emirates’ Fujairah region.
British authorities claimed that the Panama-flagged Asphalt Princess oil tanker had been hijacked, and said they were “working on the assumption Iranian military or proxies boarded the vessel” in the Gulf of Oman.
Khatibzadeh categorically rejected as “untrue” the reports circulated by Western and Israeli media about the involvement of Iran’s Armed Forces in the incident.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman also called on all parties to be vigilant against the spread of fake news, given the contradictory news about maritime security in the region.
Successive maritime incidents in region ‘suspicious’
Khatibzadeh earlier described as “suspicious” a number of reported security incidents involving ships in the Persian Gulf region and warned against any effort to create a “vicious atmosphere to pursue certain political goals.”
Khatibzadeh said Iran pursues the policy of establishing security and stability in the region, adding that the Islamic Republic provides naval support for vessels passing through the strategic waters in the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman.
"Iran's naval forces are ready to provide naval support, if needed, to transit ships in the region," he said. “In case of problems in navigation systems, the Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to provide assistance and investigate the matter closely."
Khatibzadeh also expressed Iran’s readiness to cooperate with the regional countries to boost maritime security and monitoring of naval transit routes.
The latest incident comes less tan a week after the United States and the United Kingdom joined Israel in accusing Iran of orchestrating Thursday's attack on an Israeli tanker off the coast of Oman, despite Tehran’s firm denial.