Iran's President Rouhani tells foreign powers to leave Persian Gulf

Monday, September 23, 2019

Yesterday, President Hassan Rouhani of Iran said if the goal is peace and security, then foreign powers should "get out of the region" as their presence could cause an arms race. He also announced a new security initiative for the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Oman and the Strait of Hormuz to be unveiled at the United Nations General Assembly later this week.

Rouhani delivering the speech
Image: Vahid Ahmadi/TNA.

Rouhani was speaking at the opening of Sacred Defence Week, an annual commemoration of the eight-year Iran–Iraq War, which features military parades. "The presence of foreign forces can be dangerous for the region, international waters, as well as the security of shipping lines and energy, but our path is to create unity and coordination with regional countries," he said. "Those who want to link the region’s incidents to the Islamic Republic of Iran are lying like their past lies that have been revealed [...] If they are truthful and really seek security in the region, they must not send weapons, fighter jets, bombs and dangerous arms to the region."

"Your presence has always been a calamity for this region and the farther you go from our region and our nations, the more security would come for our region", he continued in the speech which was delivered in Tehran, the capital. Rouhani's new security plan would be led by Iran and feature support from regional countries in securing the waterways in the region. According to the Associated Press, Iran has increased cooperation in the last few years with the navies of China, India, Oman, Pakistan, and Russia.

The speech came approximately one week after an attack on oil infrastructure in Saudi Arabia which halved Saudi oil output. The attack was claimed by the Houthi movement in Yemen, but both Saudi Arabia and the United States have alleged Iranian involvement. The initial reports were of drone attacks, but the Saudi government said the attack included cruise missiles which could not have originated in Yemen.

The United States was more forceful in blaming Iran for the attack, committing to send more troops to Saudi Arabia. Recently, the United States announced a naval coalition to patrol the Persian Gulf which was joined by Australia, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates.

The annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly is set to open tomorrow.