EghtesadOnline: Iran has always been interested in having cordial ties with Muslim countries, particularly its neighbors, President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday, adding that Persian Gulf states can protect regional security without the presence of foreign forces.
"Measures taken by major powers, particularly the United States, in the region are only aimed at creating discord among Muslim nations and exploiting their resources," the president said during a Cabinet meeting, his website reported.
Traffic in the Strait of Hormuz, through which about a fifth of the world's oil passes, has become the focus of a standoff between Tehran and Washington after US President Donald Trump quit a 2015 nuclear pact and reimposed sanctions on Tehran to slash the OPEC producer's oil exports, according to Financial Tribune.
After explosions damaged six tankers in May and June and Iran seized a British-flagged tanker in July over shipping violations, the United States launched a maritime security mission in the Persian Gulf, joined by Britain, to protect merchant vessels, Reuters reported.
Washington is lobbying other international partners to join the coalition.
Iran denies any involvement in the tanker accidents and says the British-flagged vessel was detained for marine violations, which Britain disputes.
Call for Unity, Dialogue
Rouhani said the new military coalition will make no contribution to regional security, stressing that Persian Gulf littoral states can together maintain the region’s security and stability.
He said the fulfillment of this goal requires "unity and dialogue" between regional countries, rather than the presence of foreign forces.
On possible Israeli involvement in the maritime coalition in the Persian Gulf, the president said Israelis have failed to protect the security of their own region.
The Zionist regime is itself a source of insecurity, terrorism and regional conflicts so it is a "hollow claim" that it will be able to help protect the security of another region, he added.
Israeli media recently quoted Foreign Minister Israel Katz as telling a closed-door meeting that Israel was part of discussions and intelligence-sharing with the US-led security coalition. Israeli officials declined to confirm or deny the reports.
Rouhani advised extraterritorial countries to not fall into the trap set up by the United States, as it will have negative consequences for everyone.
On Iran's decision to reduce its compliance with the nuclear deal, the president said it is meant to help restore the lost balance in the agreement and added that Tehran always favors dialogue and interactions.
Iran has vowed to keep reducing its commitments every 60 days unless Europe upholds its side of the deal and offsets the impact of Trump's decision to abandon the accord last year.
It has so far surpassed the limits set on the size of its stockpiles of enriched uranium and heavy water, and has exceeded the maximum uranium enrichment level it had agreed to.
"We are continuing negotiations because we have always believed that we should never run away from dialogue and interaction. However, the conditions should be right and the other side should also be committed to dialogue and the resolution of issues," he said.
Rouhani noted that Washington's political, propaganda and economic campaigns against the Islamic Republic have failed to produce the intended results.