September 16, 2016
The US military forces should leave the Arab Gulf as their presence in Iran’s southern waters has no legal basis, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani said on Wednesday.
“The presence of American forces in the Persian Gulf (Arab Gulf) lacks any legal and international justification and is against the will of regional nations,” Shamkhani was quoted as saying by Press TV.
Washington’s claims about Iran’s allegedly “provocative” acts in the Arab Gulf is part of the White House’s media hype against Iran, he said.
The Iranian official stressed that the US claims about Iranian vessels getting too close to American warships in the Strait of Hormuz are mere propaganda.
On Wednesday, the navy commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) also urged the US warships to leave the Persian Gulf.
“If the US leaves the Persian Gulf, there would be no problem between IRGC vessels and those of the Americans,” said IRGC commander Ali Fadavi, according to Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA).
On August 24, western media reported that four Iranian vessels carried out a “high-speed intercept” of a US destroyer around the Strait of Hormuz.
Citing a US Navy official who spoke on condition of anonymity, media reports said the US deemed the incident “unsafe and unprofessional”, adding that two of the IRGC vessels came within 300 yards of the USS Nitze.
The USS Nitze, navigating in what the US official described as “international waters” at the time of the incident, was forced to change its course, reports said.
The incident took place seven months after 10 US sailors were detained by Iran for about 15 hours after their vessels drifted into Iranian territorial waters early this year.