Source: Press TV
Iran's Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari says the US Navy does not need to escort US-flagged ships travelling through the secure Persian Gulf waters.
Iran's Navy chief Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari (file photo)
"Security fully prevails in the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman due to the permanent presence of Iran's [regular] Navy and the naval forces of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC). Therefore, there is no need for the Americans to escort their ships in this region," Sayyari told reporters on Sunday.
He, however, recommended the US to escort its ships sailing in the Gulf of Aden and Bab al-Mandab Strait because of insecure conditions.
Sayyari was reacting to a decision by the US Navy to accompany US and British-flagged commercial ships as they travel through the Strait of Hormuz into and out of the Persian Gulf.
Pentagon spokesman, Colonel Steve Warren, said the decision is a direct result of the Iranian Navy's recent seizure of a Marshall Islands-flagged ship in the Persian Gulf.
Sayyari defended as "fully legal" Iran's decision to impound the cargo ship in the Persian Gulf.
On April 28, Iranian forces boarded the Maersk Tigris (shown below) carrying the Marshall Islands flag in the Strait of Hormuz, after the vessel, with 34 crew members aboard, reportedly trespassed on Iranian territorial waters.
Maersk Line says it was told by Iran's Ports and Maritime Organization (PMO) on April 29 that an Iranian court had ordered the company to pay USD 3.6 million (about 3.2 million euros) in compensation in the case.
Since the seizure of the vessel, several Iranian officials have said the case is a purely commercial affair.
A day after the ship was impounded, Iran's Foreign Ministry defended the move as legal saying the vessel was seized based on a court decision.
The PMO said on the same day that the seizure of Maersk Tigris was based on a court ruling issued on March 16, which reportedly came after a plaintiff sued the Maersk Line over unpaid debts.
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