Iranian authorities can seize any ship, any time, even if accompanied by American or British forces, claimed a senior Iranian naval commander on Sunday.
Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) navy, made the claim in an interview with al-Mayadeen TV Channel.
Tangsiri was sanctioned by the US on June 24, along with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and seven other IRGC commanders, under Executive Order 13876 in response to Iran’s downing of a US drone on June 20 and its long-term promotion of terrorism in the region.
Tangsiri also warned about any potential Israeli presence in the Arabian Gulf, saying that it would be illegitimate and could lead to a war in the region.
The IRGC navy is responsible for ensuring the security of the Strait of Hormuz and the Arabian Gulf, said Tangsiri, adding that there is no need for foreign forces.
Iran will ensure the security of the Strait of Hormuz as long as it is able to export oil, he said, criticizing the US and the UK’s presence for designing “various scenarios” in the region to legitimise their presence in the Arabian Gulf.
He also accused the US of targeting oil tankers near Iranian waters and blaming Iran for the attacks. Iran has seized three tankers in strategic Arabian Gulf waters since last month, including the British-flagged oil tanker the Stena Impero.
The US and the UK have announced an “international maritime security mission” to protect merchant vessels in the Strait of Hormuz amid heightened tensions, as P&O Cruises has cancelled cruises around Dubai and the Arabian Gulf in response to Iran seizing foreign vessels.