US turning Gulf into 'tinderbox': Zarif

Elias Hubbard
August 13, 2019

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made the allegation in an interview during a visit to Qatar with that nation's Al Jazeera network, blaming the us for tensions that have soared in the Persian Gulf during recent months.

According to Reuters, Zarif said in the interview that the Strait "is narrow, it will become less safe as foreign (navy) vessels increase their presence in it".

The effort block Iranian oil is part of a pressure campaign the Trump administration has ramped up against Iran since President Trump withdrew the US from the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, which had eased global sanctions on Tehran in exchange for limits to Iranian nuclear activities.

Earlier in August, Britain announced it was joining the United States in an "international maritime security mission" to help safeguard shipping and other interests in the Gulf.

Saudi Arabia threw its weight behind Yemen's exiled president, as UAE-backed southern separatists who took over the port of Aden. "Some of the countries in the region with less than a third of our population spend $87bn on military procurement", Zarif told Al Jazeera in Qatar's capital, Doha.

"If you are talking about threats coming from the region, the threats are coming from the United States and its allies who are pouring weapons in the region, making it a tinderbox ready to blow up".

Doha is a close ally of Washington and hosts the largest U.S. military base in the region, while also maintaining cordial ties with Iran. "Iraq is seeking to reduce tension in our region through calm negotiations..." The tension between the states rose further last month after Iranian forces seized British tanker Stena Impero in the Strait of Hormuz.

The tanker dispute has tangled Britain in the diplomatic dispute between the EU's big powers - which want to preserve the Iran nuclear deal - and the United States which has pushed for a tougher policy on Iran.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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