Iranian President Hassan Rouhani yesterday denounced the presence of foreign forces in the Persian Gulf and said Iran would put forward a peace plan, after the US ordered reinforcements to the tinderbox region.
“Foreign forces can cause problems and insecurity for our people and for our region,” Rouhani said in a speech at an annual military parade.
Rouhani also said Iran would present a peace plan to the UN in the coming days.
“In this sensitive and important historical moment, we announce to our neighbors that we extend the hand of friendship and brotherhood to them,” he said.
The tensions have escalated in the wake of the Sept. 14 attacks on Saudi Arabian oil installations that Washington and Riyadh have blamed on Tehran.
US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper on Friday said that the US was sending reinforcements to Saudi Arabia at “the kingdom’s request,” while noting the forces would be “defensive in nature” and focused on air and missile defense.
Rouhani called on the foreign powers in the Gulf region to “stay away.”
“If they’re sincere, then they should not make our region the site of an arms race,” he said. “Your presence has always brought pain and misery... The farther you keep yourselves from our region and our nations, the more security there will be.”
“We are even ready to ignore their past mistakes ... since today the situation is such that the enemies of Islam and the region, meaning America and Zionism, want to abuse the rift between us,” Rouhani said. “Our logic is the logic of a Persian Gulf whose security comes from within.”
Following his speech, the armed forces paraded their latest equipment, an annual event that marks the start of a week commemorating Iran’s 1980 to 1988 war with Iraq.
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Meanwhile, Saudi Arabian Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir said that if an investigation shows that the Sept. 14 attacks were launched from Iranian territory, the kingdom would consider it an act of war, but Riyadh is currently seeking a peaceful resolution.
“We hold Iran responsible because the missiles and the drones that were fired at Saudi Arabia ... were Iranian-built and Iranian-delivered,” he told CNN late on Saturday. “But to launch an attack from your territory, if that is the case, puts us in a different category ... this would be considered an act of war.”
“If they continue along this path, then they risk the possibility of military action,” he said. “But nobody wants war. Everybody wants to resolve this peacefully and the end result has to be an end to Iran’s aggressive policies.”
Additional reporting by Reuters
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