Israeli presence in US Persian Gulf force ‘a threat to Iran’s National Security’ says Mousavi

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Iranian speedboats in the Persian Gulf

IRAN says it considers 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.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi last Friday referred to the ‘illegitimate existence’ of the Israeli regime in the Middle East as a source of insecurity and instability.

‘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,’ he noted.

‘The US regime and the illegitimate Zionist regime are responsible for all the consequences of this dangerous move,’ the spokesman added.

The remarks came after Israel said it will join what the US calls an effort to boost security of navigation in the Persian Gulf.

Israeli foreign minister Israel Katz said on August 7th 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 Persian Gulf countries.

‘The announcement about the possible presence of the al-Quds occupying regime in the self-proclaimed military coalition in the Persian Gulf is a clear threat to Iran’s national security,’ Mousavi said.

‘The right to confront this threat within the framework of the country’s defence policy is the right of Iran, and all the consequences of this dangerous act will befall the American regime and the illegitimate Zionist regime,’ he added.

The US has announced plans to form a force amid its attempts to disrupt Iran’s foreign oil sales as part of its sanctions targeting the Islamic Republic.

‘Iran believes the presence of ultra-regional forces in the Persian Gulf under any name and title will not only fail to help reinforce the region’s security, but will further prepare the grounds for tension and crisis in the sensitive Persian Gulf region,’ Mousavi said.

‘The Islamic Republic of Iran has announced its opposition to the formation of such coalitions and considers it a deceptive act which create tensions,’ he added.

Mousavi also said Tehran will regard the organisers, founders, and members of such a coalition as the culprits behind possible tensions and crises that would emanate from such a move.

On June 30th, the US officially asked Germany to participate — alongside Britain and France — in the coalition, a request that was declined by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas a day later. The UK, however, later accepted to join the coalition.

The US request to build a ‘coalition’ against Iran in the Persian Gulf has been met with either silence or rejection, including a blunt ‘no’ from Germany, the New York Times reports.

Iran’s defence chief said last Thursday that the US-proposed coalition, which Washington purports would seek to beef up maritime security in the Strait of Hormuz, will foment insecurity in the region.

Such a coalition ‘will only increase regional insecurity,’ defence Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami told his Kuwaiti, Qatari, and Omani counterparts during separate telephone conversations on Thursday, IRNA reported.

  • The CIA spy ring dismantled by Iran’s Intelligence Ministry last month was trying to gather intelligence on Iran’s oil sales, a new report by The New York Times reveals.

On July 22nd, Iran’s Intelligence Ministry announced it had identified and destroyed an integrated network of operatives serving the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) inside the country.

The Ministry’s director-general for counterintelligence said that Iran captured 17 professional spies working on behalf of the CIA throughout last year and some of those arrested had been handed death sentences.

‘The identified spies were employed in sensitive and vital private sector centres in the economic, nuclear, infrastructural, military and cyber areas … where they collected classified information,’ the unnamed official said in a statement.

Now, it appears that the espionage involved clandestine efforts to gather intelligence on oil sales, The New York Times said.

According to the report, citing two traders, many of the 17 people accused of spying had worked in the oil and energy sector as traders and brokers.

‘They had come under scrutiny because of contacts with foreigners on their trips abroad.’

The suspects arrested in Iran were operating in key organisations and institutions mainly in the private sector, an Iranian official said at the time.

He noted that the CIA had recruited the individuals by mainly contacting them over the internet.

Other tactics included issuing or renewing US visas, hiring Iranian specialists, providing necessary equipment and access to certain participants in scientific events abroad, sending emails and messaging through social media.

Iran’s Intelligence Ministry says it has destroyed an integrated network of operatives serving the US spy agency in the country.

Under the US administration’s bans on Iran’s oil industry, which are meant to zero down the country’s oil exports, Iranian oil traders are now ‘suddenly in the cross hairs of international intrigue and espionage’, the report said.

The Times quoted oil traders as saying that foreigners, who they assume are working on behalf of the United States, have offered astronomical sums, ranging from $100,000 to $1 million, just for the bank account numbers the Oil Ministry used in a sale.

‘Some of the foreigners have promised visas to the United States,’ the traders said.

Last year, Iranian Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh banned the release of oil data after the US withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and imposed sanctions on Iran’s oil exports and financial transactions.

‘Information about Iran’s oil exports is war information,’ the minister said in July.

Iranian oil exports have surged to levels near before sanctions, surprising market observers and the US which has vowed to zero out the country’s oil revenues.

‘Information about Iran’s oil production, prices, sales and exports are a crucial tool for Washington to gauge the effect of the sanctions and carry out its ‘maximum pressure’ The Times said.

While the US bans have failed to advance Washington’s goal of changing ‘Iran’s behaviour’, they have provoked growing tensions with Washington’s trading partners across the world and inflicted terrible pain on the ordinary people of Iran.

  • Yemen’s Interior Ministry says Ibrahim al-Houthi, the brother of Houthi leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, has been assassinated.

‘The treacherous hands affiliated with the US-Israeli aggression and its tools assassinated Ibrahim Badreddin al-Houthi,’ a statement from the ministry, cited by al-Masirah TV, said on Friday.

The statement did not provide any further details regarding al-Houthi’s assassination, who is said to have been an influential military commander among the Houthi forces.

Other Yemeni sources reported that al-Houthi’s body, along with a number of Houthi commanders, had been discovered in a house following a Saudi strike in the city of Haddeh in Yemen’s west central province of Sana’a.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and crushing the Houthi Ansarullah movement.

Resistance by Yemen’s armed forces, led by the Houthi Ansarullah movement, has, however, pushed the Saudi war to a stalemate, with Yemeni forces increasingly using sophisticated weaponry in retaliatory attacks against the coalition.

The US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organisation, estimates that the Saudi-led war has claimed the lives of over 60,000 Yemenis since January 2016.