Iran’s supreme leader said Saturday the U.S. only is pursuing its own interests amid worries about safety in the waterways of the Persian Gulf, just after U.S. President Barack Obama hosted Arab leaders at Camp David to assuage their security concerns.
Fears about Gulf shipping come after Iranian forces seized a ship and fired on another in recent days, even as the Islamic Republic negotiates a final deal with world powers over its contested nuclear program.
“What is the U.S.’ business?” Khamenei asked in comments posted on his website. “The U.S. is after its own interests and it will make the region insecure.”
The site also quoted him as addressing other Gulf countries: “We are neighbors; the security of the Persian Gulf is in all our interests. If it is safe, we benefit. If it is not safe, it will be insecure for all.”
After a rare Camp David summit, Obama pledged Washington’s “ironclad commitment” to the Arab governments of the Gulf and even spoke of authorizing U.S. military force if their security is endangered by Iran or anyone.
Obama’s comments sought to soothe nerves in the region over Iran, which the West also accuses of arming Shiite militias in Yemen known as Houthis, who have swept through much of the country and pushed its president into exile. Iran and the rebels deny any military link between the Houthis and Iran, though the Islamic Republic has sent humanitarian aid.
On Thursday, an Iranian naval patrol fired on a Singapore-flagged commercial tanker in the Persian Gulf, which Iranian press linked to a dispute over an accident that damaged both the ship and an Iranian oil platform on March 22. Iran recently also detained a Marshall Islands-flagged cargo ship for more than a week over a claim that the Danish shipping company that chartered it owed money to an Iranian firm.
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