Gulf Arab states can secure Persian Gulf waters alone: Iraq's foreign minister

Gulf Arab states can secure Persian Gulf waters alone: Iraq's foreign minister

Last week, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said they would help the USA -led effort to "protect the security of the Persian Gulf".

The presence of Western forces in the Gulf is fueling regional tension, Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Hakim said on Monday. "The states of the Gulf can together secure the transit of ships", he tweeted.

The United States has been seeking to assemble an global coalition to "guarantee freedom of navigation" in the Gulf citing attacks on tankers in the strait where about 20 percent of the world's oil trade passes through. All the US' allies except for the United Kingdom have so far refused to join the coalition.

"Any presence of the Zionist regime (of Israel) in the Gulf waters is illegal, as it may result in war and confrontation in the region", Alireza Tangsiri, the navy commander of IRGC, said on Sunday.

On Thursday, Commander-in-Chief of the Revolutionary Guard Major General Hossein Salami warned that any new conflict in the region would be a major threat to Israel's existence, saying "a new war will put the Zionist regime under a full-scale threat".

Katz said Israel was assisting the mission to secure the crucial waterway with intelligence and in other unspecified fields.

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Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami said on Thursday said that "Operation Sentinel" would "increase insecurity" in the region, and that Israel's involvement would have "disastrous consequences".

"The security of Persian Gulf is among Iran's priorities, and we believe Iran's shipping lanes must remain worldwide", the IRGC general said.

Tensions have escalated in past months, with drones downed and tankers mysteriously attacked in Gulf and nearby waters, where about 20 percent of the world's oil trade passes through.

The US and its Gulf allies have accused the Islamic Republic of the tanker attacks.

Britain, which has had run-ins with Iran in the strait, including the seizure by Iran of the British-flagged Sterna Impero tanker, has also joined the mission.

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