Commander Slams EU, US’ Naval Presence near Iranian Waters

Commander Slams EU, US’ Naval Presence near Iranian Waters

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – In a meeting with his French counterpart, the commander of the Iranian Navy called for an end to presence of American and European naval forces near Iran’s southern coasts, which he slammed as detrimental to collective security.

Commander of the Iranian Navy Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi, who has traveled to Reunion Island to take part in the 7th edition of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS), held a meeting with Chief of Staff of the French Navy Admiral Pierre Vandier on the island, located in the Indian Ocean near Madagascar, southeast of Africa.

In the meeting, Rear Admiral Khanzadi said Iran cannot but protest against the presence of the European Union and the US’ naval vessels near Iranian coasts.

“We believe that such unfavorable security arrangements (US and European naval presence) would not strengthen collective security and must be suspended,” the Iranian commander underlined.

He said Iran does not see why the US-led coalition forces have been deployed to the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman, which he said have been a safe and stable region, unlike the Gulf of Aden and the Bab al-Mandab Strait.

Tehran attributes the presence of ultra-regional naval forces in the Persian Gulf region to the weakened dialogue among influential navies, Khanzadi stated.

He also told the French commander that Iran’s Navy is closely monitoring the moves of the US-led coalition forces, including the European and French vessels in the Persian Gulf region, even from a long distance.

Iran believes that maritime security in every geographical region must be ensured by the regional states alone, the commander added.

For his part, Admiral Vandier said former US president Donald Trump had called on all allies to dispatch naval forces to the region and mount pressures on Iran, but France twisted away from the US policies to some extent.

However, he added, European countries had to deploy forces to the Persian Gulf to ensure regional security, but France did not take part in any of the American operations.

France has been seeking to decide independently and without the support and information provided by the US, Vandier said, adding that the French Navy has not been engaged in any clashes with the Persian Gulf littoral states.

France and Europe favor establishment of security without skirmish and tensions, he stated, adding that the French forces are cooperating with the US and are also willing to work in cooperation and have contact with the Iranian Navy.

The admiral also pledged that he will convey Iran’s message to the French government, stressing that the relations between the French and Iranian navies must increase to help reduce tensions in the region.

Iran is a permanent member of IONS and has held its 3-year presidency since 2018.

The IONS is a voluntary initiative that seeks to increase maritime cooperation among navies of the littoral states of the Indian Ocean Region by providing an open and inclusive forum for discussion of regionally relevant maritime issues.

The IONS has 24 members, including Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Iran, Oman, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, France, Australia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Singapore, Malaysia, Seychelles, Thailand, Timor Leste, and the UK.

There are also 8 observers, namely China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Madagascar, the Netherlands, Russia and Spain.

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