Iran: US navy attack "threatens regional security"
Published Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Iran on Tuesday criticized the actions of a US navy ship that shot at an approaching fishing boat off the United Arab Emirates, saying the incident showed foreign forces threatened regional security.
One Indian national was killed and three others injured on Monday when the US refueling ship, the USNS Rappahannock, opened fire on a small motor boat.
The United States has been building up its presence in the Gulf as Washington seeks to ramp up pressure on Iran over its nuclear program, which Tehran insists is for peaceful purposes only.
"We have announced time and again that the presence of foreign forces can be a threat to regional security," Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said during a news conference broadcast on state television.
"Certainly regional countries with the help of one another can provide security in the best possible way. If they join hands, with their defensive capabilities, they don't need the presence of foreign forces. Anywhere where you see insecurity we have always seen the hand of foreign forces there."
The shooting took place in waters near the UAE port of Jebel Ali, across the Gulf from Iran, US Naval Forces Central Command said in a statement. The UAE state news agency, quoting a government official, identified all of the dead and wounded as Indian nationals.
Iran has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz in response to punitive Western sanctions, which has alarmed world capitals over the impact such an action could have on the price of oil.
Iranian spokesman Mehmanparast said the threats were "a deterrent" against those countries that have imposed sanctions against Iran and "threaten global energy supplies".
The Indian foreign ministry said in a statement that its embassy in Abu Dhabi was working with UAE authorities to investigate Monday's incident.