Iranian FM Zarif accuses US of turning Gulf region into ‘matchbox ready to ignite’

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Dubai, August 13: Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has on Monday blamed the United States for transforming the Gulf area into a “matchbox ready to ignite”, Al-Jazeera reported.

Oil tanker traffic going through the Gulf by means of the Strait of Hormuz has turned into the focal point of a US-Iranian standoff since Washington hauled out of a universal atomic arrangement with Iran and reimposed approvals to choke Tehran’s oil trades.

After blasts that harmed six tankers in May and June and Tehran’s seizure of a British-flagged tanker in July, the US propelled a sea security mission in the Gulf, joined by Britain, to ensure shipper’s vessels.

In an exclusive interview comments quoted by Qatar-based Al-Jazeera, Zarif said the Strait of Hormuz “is narrow, it will become less safe as foreign (navy) vessels increase their presence in it”.

“The region has become a matchbox ready to ignite because America and its allies are flooding it with weapons,” he said.

Zarif, who touched base on Sunday in Doha, met with Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani on Monday for dialogues to pass on that message, Iranian state-run media announced, according to Reuters news reports.

A month ago, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards held onto the British tanker, Stena Impero close to the Strait for supposed marine infringement, two weeks after Britain held onto an Iranian oil tanker close Gibraltar, blaming it for damaging assents on Syria.

The tanker question has tangled Britain in the political debate between the EU’s enormous forces – which need to safeguard the Iran atomic arrangement – and the United States which has pushed for a harder approach on Iran.


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