(P)GCC Warned Against Intercepting Iranian Vessels

(P)GCC Warned Against Intercepting Iranian Vessels(P)GCC Warned Against Intercepting Iranian Vessels

A lawmaker warned Persian Gulf Arab states of Tehran's response to false accusations made to intercept Iranian vessels in the Persian Gulf waters.

In an interview with ICANA, Hojjatollah Khodaei Souri said Iranian military forces have no fear when it comes to repelling attacks against Iranian vessels.

"The slightest mistake of Arabs in stopping Iranian ships and searching them will prompt Tehran to give them a hard slap, despite its regional policy [of friendship with neighbors]," he said.

The statement was in response to recent remarks by Bahrain's Deputy Interior Minister Khaled al-Absi who said on Wednesday that a joint maritime patrol of the US and (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council will begin work next month.

The decision was first announced by (P)GCC Secretary-General Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani in a joint press conference with US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter in Riyadh on April 20, where he said the bloc and the US have agreed to deploy joint maritime patrols to intercept Iranian ships that he claimed are "smuggling Iranian weapons to Yemen".

Souri, also a member of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, said "nonsensical" arms trafficking allegations against Iran are leveled by the US, aimed at promoting Iranophobia in the Middle East and selling weapons to Arab states.

"The US, as the biggest sponsor of terrorism in the region that has sold Saudi Arabia billions of dollars of weapons, which have been used for slaughtering the Yemeni people [in the Saudi aggression that started on March 2015], cannot accuse Iran, which has always sought fighting terrorism, of smuggling arms [for terrorists]," he said.

"Americans are provoking Arabs to confront Iran to create new problems for Tehran after the nuclear deal."

Souri noted that Persian Gulf Arab states should not be deceived into believing baseless allegations.

The nuclear accord was reached between Iran and world powers last July to remove international sanctions on Iran in exchange for temporary curbs on its nuclear program, putting an end to a decade-old dispute over Tehran's nuclear activities.