Speaking during a weekly press briefing in Tehran on Monday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kan’ani said the interests of certain governments lie in instability in the Persian Gulf region.
“The security of the region, especially that of the Persian Gulf waterway, must be ensured within the region itself by the Persian Gulf states. It is a general principle,” he said, noting that Iran has accelerated talks to that aim.
“Coinciding with growing convergence among regional countries, we [hear] claims made by the US government and witness an increase of its military forces, a measure that is provocative. However, we are optimistic that cooperation between the countries of the region will advance faster,” Kan’ani added.
He further highlighted the critical importance of the Persian Gulf area and the Strait of Hormuz for Iran’s security and emphasized that the Iranian Navy will deliver a “professional and legal” response to any illegal move in the region.
Recently, the US sent additional 3,000 personnel on troop-landing warships to the region in response to Iran’s alleged “harassment and seizures of merchant vessels.”
The deployment brought additional aircraft and helicopters to join a dozen US F-35s, as well as F-16 and A-10 aircraft and Navy guided-missile destroyers that had already arrived in the Persian Gulf under the pretext of protecting vessels crossing the main waterways in the strategic region.
‘Iran will not allow violation of its rights’
Also in his remarks, the spokesman reacted to reports that a US-seized cargo of Iranian crude oil was unloading off the coast of Texas.
“I read the story in the media and I have no confirmed information. There is a general principle that says the era of hit-and-run is over. Iran will not stand idly by in relation to any violation of the nation’s rights and will cut the hands of the aggressors,” he said.
“Acts of trespassing on tankers carrying Iranian oil are a clear example of piracy.”
The remarks came after Reuters cited ship tracking data as showing that a cargo of Iranian crude oil that was seized by the United States began unloading on Sunday.
US ‘forced’ to recognize Iran’s rights
Commenting on the recent agreement with the US for the release of Iranian funds frozen in South Korea, Kan’ani said that Washington was “forced” to recognize Iran’s rights in this regard.
“The release of Iran’s assets comes at a time when the US tries to block them by imposing unilateral sanctions. However, we forced the United States to pay attention to Iran’s rights through our good diplomatic and legal efforts.”
South Korean banks blocked $6 billion worth of Iran’s assets after former US President Donald Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018 and reinstated economic sanctions against Tehran. They refused to release them because of fears of facing US penalties.
Earlier this month, Iran announced agreements reached between Tehran and Washington to resolve some issues relating to the prisoner swap and the unfreezing of Iranian assets illegally blocked overseas.
Kan’ani said that a maximum framework of two months has been specified for the process.
He also noted that Iran is seriously pursuing the release of its assets blocked in Iraq, announcing that part of the process has been completed.