Iran’s naval alliance with Saudi, Gulf nations ‘defies reason’: US
In the first US response to the announced naval alliance, the US 5th Fleet spokesperson links the news to the US bolstering of defense around the Strait of Hormuz with its allies.
Breaking Defense quoted a US military official as saying that an Iranian declaration that Tehran would soon establish a naval alliance with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations “defies reason".
“It defies reason that Iran, the number one cause of regional instability, claims it wants to form a naval security alliance to protect the very waters it threatens,” US 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces Spokesperson Commander Tim Hawkins said as quoted by Breaking Defense.
Elsewhere in his remarks, he claimed that Iran has "attacked or seized 15 internationally flagged merchant's vessels" over the past two years.
“Actions matter, which is why we are bolstering defense around the Strait of Hormuz with partners,” said Hawkins.
This comes in response to Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Shahram Irani's remarks on Saturday during which he revealed that Iran's navy and regional countries, including Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, and Iraq will establish a new naval coalition soon.
During a televised interview, he added that the aforementioned countries have acknowledged that intra-regional cooperation can establish regional security.
The top Iranian commander highlighted that almost all of the countries in the North Indian Ocean region have agreed to stand by Iran and exert strained efforts to establish security with significant synergy.
In further detail, he stated that Oman, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Iraq, Pakistan, and India are among these countries.
Simultaneously, the US seems to be threatened considering that its 5th fleet is situated in Bahrain, especially amid the warming of relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which came after seven years of strained diplomatic relations.
The rapid developments become more agonizing for the US in light of the UAE's recent withdrawal from a US-led Middle East Maritime Security Alliance two months ago as a result of an assessment of its security ties.
“Abu Dhabi is obviously unhappy with [the US]. So, this is their way of messaging to [the US] their displeasure. This is all political, in my mind,” Bilal Saab, Senior Fellow and Director of the Defense and Security Program at the Middle East Institute, said of UAE’s announcement as quoted by Breaking Defense.
It is worth noting that Iran has constantly affirmed that relations with neighbors are a priority in the Iranian government's foreign policy.
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