Speaking at his first weekly press briefing after the new President of the Islamic Republic Ebrahim Raisi took office, Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh reiterated on Monday that “the security of the Persian Gulf is Iran’s red line “, and that” Tehran will do its best to keep the waterway safe from the insecurity created by countries like the UK.
Khatibzadeh’s remark was likely aimed at the US and UK initiative to form an international consensus against Iran after the July 29 attack on an Israel-run ship near the Omani coast. Following the G-7 statement condemning Iran for the Mercer Street attack, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Sunday that “issuing statements against Iran is not enough” and “now is the time to to act “.
Bennett, however, thanked the G-7 for the statement and said he was satisfied with the CENTCOM report claiming that the remains of the drone used in the attack indicated that it belonged to Iran.
Khatibzadeh denounced the G-7’s statement as “baseless” and “unacceptable to the Iranian people”. He said Iran, as one of the pillars of security in the region, has always contributed to the restoration of peace in the Persian Gulf. Meanwhile, he accused Israel of sponsoring terrorism in the region and in international waters while enjoying the support of some other countries.
He added that Iran will never remain silent in the face of threats to the security of its commercial ships.
Asked to comment on a statement by British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab regarding his concerns over the safety of commercial shipping in the Persian Gulf, Khatibzadeh said: “Anti-Iranian statements by British officials are not new. This is just one of the irresponsible comments. made by British officials against Iran in recent years. “
Dominic Raab said last week that “all the evidence” points to Iran being responsible for a drone attack on a ship in the Middle East which left a British citizen dead. He also added that the British Foreign Office considered that the strike on the tanker off the coast of Oman was “deliberate, targeted and a flagrant violation of international law by Iran”.
Khatibzadeh, however, added: “We share only one thing with the British Foreign Secretary and that is our concern for the safety of commercial shipping in the Persian Gulf.”
Khatibzadeh referred to the latest developments in talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia. “The two sides had to broach important topics. We in Iran believe that we can achieve a common understanding of the major issues through dialogue,” he said and stressed: “We believe that we can achieve good results if Saudi Arabia pays due attention to Iran’s message about solving regional problems only through regional initiatives. ”Khatibzadeh’s remark was based on an Iranian initiative launched in 2019 that called on the United States to stay out of regional efforts to restore peace and security.
He also announced that Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein will visit Iran later this week, however, it is too early to comment on the message he is conveying to the new Iranian president. IRGC’s Telegram channel Quds Force reported as Iraqi sources earlier said Hussein would invite President Ebrahim Raisi to attend a security meeting in Baghdad with Iraqi, Turkish and Saudi officials.
Meanwhile, Khatibzadeh said Iran was ready to help resolve the Yemeni crisis, but “we regret that Saudi Arabia still believes in a military solution.” Over the past week, Raisi has repeatedly said that trying to improve ties with regional states and neighboring countries is his foreign policy priority. However, it is not clear whether he said this to undermine the importance of ties with the United States and the reinstatement of the 2015 nuclear deal, or that is what he truly believes in.