Iran Foreign Ministry spokesman:

"Iran monitors U.S., allies' movements in PG"

Tue May 7, 2013 17:02:50

Iran’s Foreign Ministry has warned the US and foreign forces conducting a drill in the Persian Gulf against any provocative actions, saying that Iranian Armed Forces constantly monitor their movements.

The United States and 29 of its allies, including Britain and certain Arab countries, began a joint military exercise, the so-called International Mine Countermeasures Exercise, in the Persian Gulf on May 6.


Pointing to the military drill, Ramin Mehmanparast, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, said during his weekly press conference on Tuesday that, “Any movement in the area will be monitored by Iran’s defense forces.”


“All those who are present in the region should be careful not to take any provocative measure,” he added.


Washington claims the drill, which runs through May 30, is aimed at practicing minesweeping and the protection of commercial vessels. Xinhua reported that more than 100 divers, 35 ships and 18 unmanned submarines will take part in the exercise.


Commenting on a statement issued by the United Arab Emirates after the visit of a group of Iranian lawmakers to the three Iranian islands of the Greater Tunb, the Lesser Tunb, and Abu Musa, Mehmanparast said the visit is an internal issue and within the jurisdiction of the Islamic Republic of Iran.


The statement was released on Monday after members of Iran’s Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee visited the islands on April 24. The statement claimed the trip “flagrantly infringes on the sovereignty of the UAE and undermines all exerted efforts towards finding a peaceful resolution for this issue.”


Mehmanparast said the three islands will permanently belong to Iran.


At the same time, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman stressed that Iran is ready to hold talks with the UAE to remove possible ambiguities regarding the issue.


International documents clearly show that the three islands of the Greater Tunb, the Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa which were historically owned by Iran, temporarily fell to British control in 1903. The islands were returned to Iran based on an agreement in 1971 before the UAE was born.


The United Arab Emirates has repeatedly laid baseless claims to the islands.


The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman further said that the Israeli regime seeks to create discord among Muslims to prevent the spread of the Islamic Awakening.


Mehmanparast said that, following the recent Scholars and Islamic Awakening International Conference in Tehran, which led to further unity between Shia and Sunnis, “an anti-Islam Zionist current has put on its agenda committing crimes and new measures in order to crate rift among various Islamic schools.”


On April 29, nearly 700 clerics and scholars from Muslim and non-Muslim countries and various religions participated in the two-day international conference in Tehran and discussed the major issues facing the Muslim world.


Referring to the desecration of the holy shrine of revered Muslim figure Hujr Ibn Adi by the foreign-backed rebels in Syria and the recent Israeli aggression against Syria, Mehmanparast said, “The simultaneity of the intensification of the terrorist operations in Syria and desecrating the companion of the Prophet [Mohammad (PBUH)] and the Israeli regime’s attack on Syria indicate that a Zionist current is behind the issue” with the collaboration of certain regional countries.


The Iranian official said that the Islamic Republic gives priority to the unity among Muslims in order to counter the Zionists' acts of sedition.


He reiterated Iran’s opposition to any foreign interference in Syria, adding that dialogue between the Syrian government and opposition is the only way to settle the unrest in the Arab country.

Iran, as the president of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and a member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), will use its entire capacities to find a solution to the crisis in Syria, Mehmanparast said.

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