Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Friday that a US-led maritime security mission in the Strait of Hormuz would be a "source of insecurity."
The United States has been seeking allies for a naval mission to
guarantee freedom of navigation in the region after Iran seized two
foreign oil tankers in recent weeks in apparent retaliation for
Britain impounding an Iranian tanker in early July.
The rising tensions in the Gulf come as the US, which last year
withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal, imposes sanctions and a so-called
"maximum pressure" campaign against Tehran.
Britain has agreed to join the US-led naval mission, but other
European nations, including Germany, have been reticent for fear of
being dragged into an all-out conflict.
European countries have been trying to preserve the 2015 deal, which
limited Iran's nuclear activity so as to make it technically
impossible for the Islamic Republic to acquire nuclear weapons.
But they have been largely unable to counteract the crippling effect
of the reimposed US sanctions, which have led European firms too to
pull out of Iran.
"Gulf is vital lifeline and thus nat'l security priority for
Iran, which has long ensured maritime security [sic]," Zarif wrote on
Twitter on Friday.
"Mindful of this reality, any extra-regional presence is by
definition source of insecurity - despite propaganda. Iran won't
hesitate to safeguard its security," he added.
Iran impounded a British-flagged and a Panamanian-flagged oil tanker
in recent weeks for allegedly breaking international law and
smuggling oil, respectively.
The moves were widely seen as retaliation for the seizure of an
Iranian tanker by US ally Britain off Gibraltar.
London alleged that
that vessel was carrying oil to Syria contrary to EU sanctions.
On Sunday Tehran also claimed to have impounded an Iraqi-flagged
vessel for oil-smuggling.
France meanwhile hit back at a tweet by US President Donald Trump,
who on Thursday said his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron was
sending "mixed signals" to Tehran and added that nobody was
"authorized" to represent the US.
France "requires no authorization" to engage diplomatically with
Iran, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a statement.
"The heightened tensions require political initiatives to restore the
conditions for dialogue," Le Drian said.
France was "true" to its signature to the 2015 accord "as are the
other signatories, apart from the United States," Le Drian said in a
Paris "firmly asks Iran to resume compliance with its obligations,"
Iran has responded to the US sanctions by gradually breaching some of
the limits set by the agreement.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a meeting with Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and with deputies and Senior directors of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tehran, Iran on August 6