Russia: US ‘irresponsible policy’ root-cause of tension in ME

The tense situation in the Middle East is largely the result of Washington’s irresponsible policy, Moscow says.

The recent incident in the Gulf of Oman between Iran and the United States requires a thorough examination, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a briefing on Wednesday.

“The recent incident in the Gulf of Oman certainly needs to be thoroughly checked,” she added.

As the diplomat noted, Russia is against any escalation of the situation in the Middle East region.

“We call on all parties involved to find ways to resolve the emerging contradictions and not to aggravate them,” Zakharova continued.

She stated that “this requires mutually respectful, equal and constructive dialogue based on international law and the UN Charter. This is what our country’s renewed concept of collective security in the Persian Gulf is all about. Tehran, which is one of the key players in the region, consistently supports the Russian concept”.

“The tense situation [in the Gulf of Oman] is largely the result of Washington’s irresponsible policy, which constantly escalates the situation around Iran and the region as a whole with its provocative actions,” the diplomat stressed.

Last Wednesday, Tehran announced naval forces of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) have thwarted an attempt by the United States Navy to confiscate a tanker carrying Iranian crude in the Sea of Oman.

The United States stopped the Iranian vessel and transferred its oil cargo to another tanker and was trying to take the vessel away when the IRGC Navy intervened.

The IRGC forces used a helicopter to board the tanker and led it towards Iranian territorial waters.

The naval forces of the United States used several helicopters and a frigate to chase the Iranian tanker but the IRGC blocked their way.

The American naval forces tried once again to block the path of the Iranian ship with several more vessels but failed.

Tehran has also released footage showing IRGC navy force blocking US attempts to confiscate Iranian oil in the Sea of Oman.

American officials have claimed Iranian forces had actually seized a Vietnamese-flagged oil tanker, MV Southys, and US naval forces were just monitoring the situation.

But, a Spokesman for the IRGC has rejected remarks by American defense officials claiming US forces involved in the recent tanker incident in the Sea of Oman were present at the scene only to monitor the situation.

The spokesperson has stated American forces had a mission to protect the ship.

Brigadier General Ramazan Sharif stated last Thursday that US forces had a mission to protect MV Sothys, a Vietnamese-flagged ship which was boarded by IRGC forces after it became known the tanker was stealing a large Iranian oil cargo.

“They had come to provide support to the bandits of the Iranian oil and to escort them,” Sharif noted.

On Wednesday, the news site of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps reported Iran has released oil tanker Sothys on a court order after unloading its crude oil at the southern port of Bandar Abbas.

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