US Congress Approves Bill to Run Hotline in Persian Gulf

US Congress Approves Bill to Run Hotline in Persian Gulf

US House of Representatives has approved a bill calling for the establishment of special communication channels between Iran and the United States in the Persian Gulf.

The bill proposed by two Democrat lawmakers is aimed at preventing accidental conflicts between the two sides in the Persian Gulf.

The issue of establishing a hotline or “red phone” was raised by the US military officials in 2012, but faced opposition from the military authorities in Iran, according to a Farsi report by Hamshahri Online.

The term “red phone” was first used during the Cold War. To lessen the threat of an accidental nuclear war, the United States and the Soviet Union agreed to establish a “hot line” communication system between the two nations.

The idea comes to the fore when there is a possibility of direct conflict between two parties.

In recent years, US military officials have claimed the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps’ boats are aiming to approach American warships. However, the Iranian military officials, including the IRGC Navy commanders, have denied it saying that the US troops are looking for excuses to stay in the Persian Gulf.

In a case that occurred last year, the US Navy spokesperson claimed that a US warship had fired a warning flare toward an Iranian vessel after a group of IRGC speedboats approached it.

The spokesperson said the IRGC boats did not maintain the required space from the US guided-missile destroyer and they came within about 1,000 metres of the USS Mahan.

At that time, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote in a tweet that “Our Navy operates in – yes, correct – the Persian Gulf, not the Gulf of Mexico. [The] Question is what [the] US Navy [is] doing 7,500 miles from home.”

Back in September 2012, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Michael Mullen expressed concern over the lack of any communication link between the governments of Iran and the United States in the Persian Gulf.

During those days, US military officials stated that Washington is looking into the establishment of a hot telephone line with Iran.

They claimed US military forces in the Persian Gulf were deeply concerned about patrolling IRGC speeding boats.

A few days later, a US Defence Department official repeated that his country is studying to establish a red phone line with Tehran to avoid any unwanted collision in the Persian Gulf.

At that time, Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi, who was the commander of the IRGC navy, responded to the remarks by US officials repeating the same words FM Zarif said the year before.

“We will communicate with the United States whenever we go to the Gulf of Mexico. The Islamic Republic of Iran believes that the presence of US in the Persian Gulf is illegal and does not make sense,” Fadavi said.

This is the approach that the Iranian military and diplomatic officials have adopted on establishing a hot line with Washington. An approach that has not been changed since 2012.

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