The transfer of American troops to the Middle East is dangerous for international peace, says Zarif


Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Saturday that the US decision to deploy more troops in the Middle East in response to the threat perceived by Iran was "extremely dangerous" for peace.

The United States has said it will send 1,500 soldiers to the region in what they call an effort to strengthen defenses against Tehran, and has accused the Iranian Revolutionary Guards of direct responsibility for the attacks on tankers this month.

"The Americans have made such accusations to justify their hostile policies and to increase tensions in the Persian Gulf," Zarif told IRNA news agency.

"The increase in the US presence in our region is extremely dangerous and threatens international peace and security, and this should be addressed," he said.

The president of the United States, Donald Trump, has also invoked the threat from Iran to declare a national security-related emergency that would eliminate the sale of billions of dollars in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and other countries without the approval of the Congress.

It follows the decisions to accelerate the deployment of an attack group of an aircraft carrier and to send additional Patriot bombers and missiles to the Middle East.

Following US media reports that Zarif had met Senator Dianne Feinstein during a visit to the United States last month, Iran's Foreign Ministry said the informational talks were common and did not involve negotiations.

US President Donald Trump states that the United States will strengthen its military presence in the Middle East with 1,500 more soldiers. (The Associated Press)

"For over two decades discussions have been organized with non-governmental political elites of the United States, including members of Congress, to clarify and explain the policies of the Islamic Republic," said ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi.

Separately, a commander of the Revolutionary Guards said that the security of the Strait of Hormuz, one of the main oil routes, was linked to the possibility that Iran could export its oil, reported the news agency semi- official Fars.

"Gen. Gholamali Rashid said that talking about security and stability in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz is not possible without considering the interests of the Iranian nation, including the export of oil," Fars said.

Iran threatened to interrupt oil shipments across the Strait of Hormuz if the United States attempted to strangle Tehran's economy by blocking oil exports through greater sanctions.

Separately, an Iranian military officer said Iran could sink US warships in the Gulf, while another said it was unlikely that a war would start in the region.

"America … is sending two warships to the region: if they commit the least stupidity, we will send these ships to the bottom of the sea with their crew and planes using two missiles or two new secret weapons", Gen. Morteza Qorbani, an adviser to the Iranian military command, told Mizan news agency.

Western experts say that Iran often exaggerates its weapons capabilities, although there are concerns about its missile program and in particular its long-range ballistic missiles.

"We believe that rational Americans and their experienced commanders will not let their radical elements lead them into a situation from which it would be very difficult to get out, and that is why they will not go to war", Brig. Hassan Seifi, an assistant to the head of the Iranian army, told Mehr news agency.


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