Iraq warns of Israel presence in US-led Persian Gulf mission
Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammad Ali al-Hakim voiced Baghdad’s opposition with Israeli regime joining the US-led mission in the Persian Gulf warning of intensification of tensions if foreign forces are present in the region.
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“Iraq rejects the participation of Zionist forces in any military force to secure the passage of ships in the [Persian] Gulf. The [Persian] Gulf littoral states can together secure the transit of ships,” Hakim wrote in a post published on his official Twitter page on Monday.
“Iraq is seeking to reduce tension in our region through peaceful negotiations,” he said, warning that “the presence of Western forces in the region will increase tension.”
The remarks came a day after Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) warned that any Israeli presence in the Persian Gulf may result in a war in the region, and that the responsibility for the consequences of such illegal presence lies with the United States and the United Kingdom.
“The United States and the United Kingdom must assume responsibility for the Zionist regime's illegal presence in the Persian Gulf waters,” IRGC Navy Commander Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri told Lebanon-based Arabic-language al-Mayadeen television news network on Sunday.
“Any presence of the Zionist regime in the Persian Gulf waters is illegal, as it may result in war and confrontation in the region,” the top commander warned.
Israeli foreign minister Israel Katz said on August 7 that the regime would be part of the US-led coalition to “protect the security of the Persian Gulf.”
Katz claimed that Israel was determined to stop “Iranian entrenchment” in the Middle East region and strengthen Tel Aviv’s relationship with the Persian Gulf countries, Israeli news website Ynet reported.
On August 9, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Moussavi highlighted that the Islamic Republic regards possible Israeli presence in a US-led coalition in the Persian Gulf as a clear threat to its national security, and reserves the right to counter it.
"Within the framework of the country's deterrence and defensive policy, the Islamic Republic of Iran reserves the right to counter this threat and defend its territory," Moussavi noted.
"The US regime and the illegitimate Zionist regime are responsible for all the consequences of this dangerous move," the spokesman added.
US Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on July 9 that the US was proceeding with plans to assemble the coalition purportedly aimed at ensuring freedom of navigation in waters off Iran and Yemen.
"We're engaging now with a number of countries to see if we can put together a coalition that would ensure freedom of navigation both in the Straits of Hormuz and the Bab el-Mandeb," Dunford said.
"And so I think probably over the next couple of weeks we'll identify which nations have the political will to support that initiative and then we'll work directly with the militaries to identify the specific capabilities that'll support that," he added.