TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday that the presence of foreign forces creates “insecurity” in the Gulf, after the US ordered the deployment of more troops to the region.
“Foreign forces can cause problems and insecurity for our people and for our region,” Rouhani said in a televised speech at an annual military parade, adding that Iran would present to the UN a regional cooperation plan for peace.
Tensions escalated between Iran and the United States after devastating September 14 attacks on Saudi oil installations that Washington and Riyadh have blamed on Tehran.
Following the attacks, the United States announced on Friday that it was sending reinforcements to Saudi Arabia at “the kingdom’s request.”
In his speech on Sunday, Rouhani called on the foreign powers in the Gulf region to “stay away.”
“If they’re sincere, then they should not make our region the site of an arms race,” he said.
“Your presence has always brought pain and misery for the region. The farther you keep yourselves from our region and our nations, the more security there will be for our region.”
Rouhani said Iran would present a plan for peace to the United Nations in the coming days.
“In this sensitive and important historical moment, we announce to our neighbors, that we extend the hand of friendship and brotherhood to them,” he said.
Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander Major General Hossein Salami warned Saturday that any country that attacks Iran would become the “main battlefield” and added the the Islamic Republic was “ready for any type of scenario.”
“Whoever wants their land to become the main battlefield, go ahead,” he told a news conference in Tehran. “We will never allow any war to encroach upon Iran’s territory.
“We hope that they don’t make a strategic mistake,” he said, listing past US military “adventures” against Iran.
Yemen’s Houthi rebels have claimed responsibility for the strikes on Saudi Arabia but the US says it has concluded the attacks involved cruise missiles from Iran and amounted to “an act of war.”
Saudi Arabia, which has been bogged down in a five-year war across its southern border in Yemen, has said Iran “unquestionably sponsored” the attacks.
The kingdom says the weapons used in the attacks were Iranian-made, but it stopped short of directly blaming its regional rival.
“Sometimes they talk of military options,” Salami said, apparently referring to the Americans.
Yet he warned that “a limited aggression will not remain limited” as Iran was determined to respond and would “not rest until the aggressor’s collapse.”
The United States upped the ante on Friday by announcing new sanctions against Iran’s central bank, with US President Donald Trump calling the measures the toughest America has ever imposed on another country.
Washington has imposed a series of sanctions against Tehran since unilaterally pulling out of a landmark 2015 nuclear deal in May last year.
It already maintains sweeping sanctions on Iran’s central bank, but the US Treasury said Friday’s designation was over the regulator’s work in funding terrorism.