Iran says European naval mission in Gulf would be ‘provocative’

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A European naval mission in the Arabian Gulf would be “provocative,” said the Iranian government spokesman, Ali Rabiei, on Sunday, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.

“What you’ve heard, that they want to send a European fleet to the Persian Gulf sends a hostile message, is provocative and will increase tension,” Rabiei said.


“Iran believes that the region’s security must be secured by the region’s countries and we are the biggest providers of security for buyers in the [Arabian] Gulf,” he added.

On Oman’s Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah’s visit to Tehran on Saturday, Rabiei said: “Different countries come to Iran and suggest benevolent proposals, but that does not mean we will accept them.”

Iran’s seizure of the British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero on July 19 in the Arabian Gulf, as opposed to Britain’s seizure of the Iranian oil tanker Grace 1 on July 4 in Gibraltar, was legal, said Rabiei, adding that Britain “must release our oil tanker as soon as possible.”

“We have already said that Syria was not the destination of the Iranian oil tanker,” he said, adding that Britain is in no position to ask Iran to prove that the tanker was not heading to Syria.

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