Wednesday, 29 January, 2020

“Iran welcomes Japan plan not to join US-led naval coalition in Persian Gulf”

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says the Islamic Republic welcomes Japan’s decision not to join a US-led naval mission purportedly aimed at protecting shipping lanes in the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf.

Speaking to reporters in Tehran on Saturday upon his arrival from a five-day trip to Malaysia and Japan, Rouhani added that security of energy and shipping is an important issue for all big Asian and European countries whose energy requirements are tied to this region.

“Japan supports Iran’s initiative that is the HOPE peace initiative [aimed at establishing long-term peace in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz] …. Japan has also announced that it will not take part in the Americans’ plan for security in the region. We welcome both issues,” he said.

“Japan wants to bring a surveillance vessel to the region but not to the Persian Gulf region and the Strait of Hormuz but to the Bab el-Mandeb Strait and the Sea of Oman,” the Iranian president added.

He noted that Iran pursues an unwavering stance on regional security and believes that “regional security should be supplied by regional countries.”

Friction between Iran and the United States has increased since last year when US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from a landmark nuclear deal signed between Iran and six major powers in 2015 and unleashed the “toughest ever” sanctions against the Islamic Republic in defiance of global criticism in an attempt to strangle the Iranian oil trade.

The International Maritime Security Construct (IMSC), a US-led military coalition in the Persian Gulf, officially launched its operations early in November supposedly seeking to protect shipping lanes near Iranian territorial waters.

The US Fifth Fleet based in Bahrain announced that the IMSC, formerly known as Operational Sentinel, had opened its command center in the country.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi slammed the US move to create a coalition in the Persian Gulf, saying it will only exacerbate insecurity and instability across the world.

“History shows that American coalitions have always been nothing but misnomers, which have not only failed to create security but also caused more insecurity and instability in different parts of the world,” Mousavi added.

In an address to the 74th session of the UN General Assembly on September 25, President Rouhani invited all countries that are affected by developments in the Persian Gulf to join the country’s initiative for the security of the strategic region.

He said that the “Coalition of HOPE” aims to promote peace, stability, progress and prosperity of littoral states and help achieve mutual understanding and establish peaceful and friendly relations among them.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Rouhani further stated that he held talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe about the US sanctions against Iran.

“Except for one or two countries in the world, all oppose sanctions and all also know that these [US] sanctions breach international regulations and will be of no avail,” he said.

He emphasized that the sanctions harm not only Iran but all other countries, adding, “In fact, it is a lose-lose decision that the US has taken wrongly and made a miscalculation.”

The Iranian chief executive also said that Japan and the Europeans are trying to break the US sanctions on Iran and have come up with proposals in this regard and noted that Tehran and Tokyo would proceed with further consultations.

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