22 Sep, 2019
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned against flooding the Persian Gulf region with weapons and promised to unveil a plan to secure shipping through the Strait of Hormuz.
Rouhani warned against throwing the Middle East into “an arms race,” as he addressed the crowd at a military parade on Sunday.
“Don’t send warplanes, bombs and other dangerous weapons to the region,” he said, while warning that the Islamic Republic “will not allow anyone to violate” its borders.
Officials in Tehran have accused the US of fueling tensions by deploying warships near Iranian waters and sending more troops to Iraq. Earlier, the Pentagon greenlit the deployment of additional forces to strengthen the air defense of its allies, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, after Washington blamed Iran for last week’s drone strikes on Saudi oil refineries. Yemeni Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the attack, while Tehran denied any involvement.
Rouhani promised to unveil a security plan for the Persian Gulf that other regional countries can participate in. The plan will ensure peace and secure shipping through the Strait of Hormuz, which connects the Persian Gulf with the Gulf of Oman and the Indian Ocean, he said. The waterways have become a hotspot in recent months due to several high-profile maritime incidents involving oil tankers.
“We extend the hand of friendship to all our neighbors,” the Iranian president said, promising to present his plan at the UN General Assembly in New York, where he is set to arrive on Monday.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has previously said Washington is working to build a coalition aimed at achieving a “peaceful resolution” to the crisis with Iran. Tehran called this a sham, stressing that only the Persian Gulf states can maintain security in the region, not outside powers.