Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Navy Commander Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi played down the possibility of a US military attack against his country Friday, warning it to avoid “foolish moves” in the Persian Gulf.
“If the United States commanders make any foolish move in the Persian Gulf, their troops would not leave the region unharmed,” the semiofficial ISNA quoted Fadavi as saying.
“The presence of US occupying forces in the Persian Gulf is considered as a threat to the Islamic Iran,” he went on to say, noting that the military was monitoring the situation closely.
The United States and more than 25 other countries are scheduled to hold a large-scale mine-sweeping exercise in the Persian Gulf later in the month, a move thought to be aimed at increasing pressure on Iran over its nuclear program.
Iran has threatened it would close off the Strait of Hormuz, which links the Persian Gulf to the Indian Ocean, in case of military action against its nuclear facilities. Nearly 40 percent of the world’s oil supply must pass through the straight to be shipped across the globe.
“The Persian Gulf is a strategic waterway and the US has dominated many countries and their energy resources by its presence there, therefore the US has never intended to cause insecurity in the Persian Gulf,” Fadavi emphasized.
“Even one gunshot in the Persian Gulf is definitely against the interests of the US and its allies,” he added.
US President Barack Obama has repeatedly said that the option of a military strike on Iran is on the table if Tehran is not able to convince the international community that it has halted its drive towards nuclear weapons.
Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said new meetings are expected in the international effort to settle the Iranian nuclear standoff, but that Iran needs to do more to answer international concerns.
“It’s very important not to lose the momentum” in the negotiations between the six international mediators and Iran, he said.
The latest round of the Iranian nuclear talks in Moscow in June ended without any visible results and the participants agreed to hold a series of lower level meetings.
Meanwhile the push for new sanctions on Iran moved up a notch, with European foreign ministers calling for increased pressure on Tehran.
A “growing consensus” for increasing sanctions against Iran is mounting among European Union countries in the wake of stalled diplomatic efforts, said German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle.
Westerwelle’s comments followed similar statements by French and British officials at an informal EU summit in Cyprus.
“We might have to decide soon on a new round of sanctions in the European Union,” Westerwelle said. “I see a growing consensus between my colleagues.”
“We are in a serious situation,” AFP quoted him saying. “We will not accept a nuclear weapon for Iran.”
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that diplomatic attempts to bring Iran’s nuclear program to a halt were deadlocked. ”We will discuss in the next days the details of strengthening sanctions,” he said.
Fabius said he will work with Westerwelle and Italian counterpart Giulio Terzi in the next few days on a proposal for new sanctions.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague said he would appeal to his European counterparts to increase pressure on Iran by toughening sanctions. ”It is necessary to increase the pressure on Iran, to intensify sanctions,” he said.