Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday that the main source of tension in the Persian Gulf region is the presence of foreign troops, stressing that presence of these forces will increase tensions.
During a meeting with the Omani foreign affairs minister in Tehran, Rouhani added that the presence of foreign forces will not help in providing security in the region, but will be the main source of tension, noting that the primary responsibility for securing the Strait of Hormuz lies with Iran and Oman.
“The root of the unfortunate events and tension in the region today lies in the unilateral US withdrawal [from Iran’s nuclear deal] he said.
Last week, Italy, Denmark, the Netherlands and France announced backing the British proposal for a European naval force to protect the Strait of Hormuz after Iran have seized a British-flagged tanker in the strait.
The British-flagged Swedish-owned oil tanker “Stena Impero” was taken two weeks ago, by the IRGC “at the request of Hormozgan Ports and Maritime Organisation when passing through the Strait of Hormuz, for failing to respect international maritime rules.
According to the Iranian Tasnim News Agency, Rouhani warned the UK that “it will definitely pay the price for the illegal seizure of an Iranian oil tanker in international waters off the coast of Gibraltar.”
“The Islamic Republic of Iran will continue to stand vigorously against any violation of regulations that would threaten the security of shipping in the Persian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, and Sea of Oman,” Rouhani said.
Relations between London and Tehran have been strained since the British authorities have detained an Iranian tanker earlier in July close to the coast of Gibraltar. London said that the Iranian tanker on was shipping oil to Syria in breach of EU sanctions.
Meanwhile, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation said on Sunday that Tehran will restart activities at the Arak heavy water facility, according to the semi-official ISNA news agency.