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US Naval Harassments Contravene Int’l Laws

US Naval Harassments Contravene Int’l LawsUS Naval Harassments Contravene Int’l Laws

Lawmakers said recent harassments by the US Navy against Iranian patrol boats in the international waters of the Persian Gulf run counter to international laws and norms, warning that such moves would not go unanswered if repeated.

In a recent talk with ICANA, lawmaker Yahya Kamalipour said the US cannot harass any country in international waters where all countries are allowed to navigate.  “Since Iranian boats have not made any unsafe move, we reserve the right to take the matter to international courts,” he said. The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Navy reported on Saturday a repeat of the “provocative” and “unprofessional” actions by the US Navy in the Persian Gulf waters, leading to the second close encounter between the two forces in a week.

In a statement released on Saturday, IRGC’s Zolfaqar flotilla command said the new incident happened on Friday in the middle of Persian Gulf, unlike a similar occasion last Tuesday that was in the northern parts of the waterway.

A US Navy ship fired warning shots near an Iranian vessel on July 25 during a tense encounter in the Persian Gulf, the first such incident to happen under US President Donald Trump. The US military later claimed the Iranian boat had approached the ship, ignoring its warnings. Encounters between US Navy and Iranian boats have occurred in the past. In January, the USS Mahan destroyer fired three warning shots when Iranian fast-attack vessels allegedly approached it in the Strait of Hormuz.

Iran would prefer to resolve such matters through diplomatic channels, said Kamalipour, adding that “if we do not get anywhere [through diplomacy], we will act in kind. We have the upperhand in the Persian Gulf.”

  Need to Notify UN

In his narrative of the Friday incident, lawmaker Mohammad Ali Pourmokhtar said the US Navy ship became afraid and started firing at the Iranian boat approaching it.

He urged the Foreign Ministry to notify the United Nations secretary-general of the recent development, saying, “This matter should be followed up with extra urgency.”

Warning the US Navy to refrain from such provocative actions in the future, Pourmokhtar said, “The US navy would receive a blow the next time they would resort to such actions.”

“The Islamic Republic will continue its maritime patrolling unhindered in international waters,” he said.

  Trump’s Belligerent Rhetoric

Lawmaker Mohammad Kazemi blamed Trump for the recent flare-up of the Iranian and US maritime encounters in the Persian Gulf, saying that “this behavior regarding Iran’s high-speed boats and ships is not one of a decent person.”

“The US officials’ rhetoric regarding Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region are nothing but a publicity stunt,” Kazemi said.

In September 2016, during his presidential campaign, Trump threatened that any Iranian ships that approaches a US ship in a threatening gesture would be attacked. Harsh words that many, including his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, warned could lead to an unwanted conflict in the strategically-important region.

“And by the way, with Iran, when they circle our beautiful destroyers with their little boats and they make gestures that our people—that they shouldn’t be allowed to make, they will be shot out of the water,” Trump said at a rally at the time. All the three aforementioned lawmakers are members of Majlis Judicial and Legal Affairs Commission.

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