An Iranian lawmaker and security official has called on local Muslim countries to join forces and patrol the Persian Gulf in place of Western powers, Press TV reported on Wednesday.

“Regional countries should make use of the Iranian Navy’s high capabilities to ensure security and peace in the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman,” said  Mohammad Hassan Asafari, a member of the Majlis Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy.

Asafari said holding joint exercises will boost the capabilities of security forces to promptly respond to maritime incidents involving either naval or merchant shipping.

Iranian and Omani warships completed annual joint maneuvers in the Gulf on Tuesday. The exercises focused on rescue and relief operations near the Hormuz Island that lies in Iran’s territorial waters.

Iran has repeatedly asserted its right to operate in the Persian Gulf and has threatened to close the oil-strategic Strait of Hormuz in response to sanctions or if provoked by military action from the United States.