TEHRAN (Dispatches) -- President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday Iran and other Persian Gulf states could protect the region’s security and foreign forces are not needed, repeating a longstanding rejection of a U.S. maritime security mission in the region.
The United States has launched what it calls a maritime security mission in the Persian Gulf backed by Britain, escalating tensions in the region.
At a weekly cabinet meeting, Rouhani said Persian Gulf states can guarantee security in the region without U.S. assistance and accused the occupying regime of Israel of sowing instability in the Middle East.
"Israelis had better take care of the security of where they are if they can. Although, wherever they had a presence, they brought about nothing but insecurity, slaughter and terror,” he was quoted saying by the Mehr news agency.
"The main perpetrator of terrorism, war and slaughter in the region is the occupying regime of Israel,” he added.
He also said American calls for other nations to join its proposed naval mission were "superficial” and "impractical”.
"No doubt, no matter how much of these calls is put into practice, it will do nothing to help the security in the region,” Rouhani said.
His comments came in response to efforts by the Trump administration to set up a U.S.-led naval security mission around the Strait of Hormuz.
The U.S. wants an international coalition to purportedly monitor and potentially escort commercial ships there. Britain said last week it would join the mission, but no other U.S. allies have committed themselves so far.
It’s not clear if the occupying regime of Israel has been asked to participate.
Last week, the Ynet news site reported Zionist FM Israel Katz had told a closed session of the Knesset foreign affairs and war committee that the occupying regime was involved in the U.S. mission.
On Sunday, the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC)’s navy warned that "any illegitimate presence by the Zionists in the waters of the Persian Gulf could spark a war”.
Iraq has also rejected Israeli involvement in the Persian Gulf, with its foreign minster tweeting Monday that regional states were capable of securing the strategic waterway themselves and that the occupying regime of Israel’s participation in such a mission was unacceptable.
Tehran and Washington have been locked in a battle of nerves since U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from a landmark 2015 nuclear deal with Iran last year and reimposed sanctions.
Tensions have soared in the region, with drones downed and tankers mysteriously attacked in Persian Gulf waters.
Apart from Britain, which already has warships on protection duty in the Persian Gulf after a UK-flagged tanker was seized by Iran’s IRGC, other European countries have refrained from joining the planned operation for fear it might harm their efforts to reach a negotiated settlement with Iran.
The ship seizures came after British Royal Marines detained a tanker carrying Iranian oil off the British overseas territory of Gibraltar on July 4.