Iran with regional actors has enough might to defend Waters sovereignty, Tehran tells West

TEHRAN: Iran has said it is fully capable of securing regional waters in cooperation with other regional actors after a move by Western allies in the strategic Strait of Hormuz that Tehran called “theatrical”.
The comment came on Sunday as Iranian officials held a ceremony near the country’s southern waters to welcome back two Iranian warships after an eight-month trip around the world. Two days earlier, the Middle East-based navy commanders of France, the United Kingdom and the United States toured the Strait of Hormuz on the USS Paul Hamilton in a show of unity against Iran and to indicate oversight of the safety of ships traversing the waterway, through which a fifth of global oil supplies pass.
Mohammad Bagheri, chief of staff of the Iranian armed forces, said Western countries need to explain what they are doing in the Strait of Hormuz, thousands of kilometres away from their territorial waters. “The Islamic Republic of Iran and the countries south of the Persian Gulf are capable of cooperating to ensure the security of the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman,” Bagheri said in a news conference, adding that he discussed the issue during a trip to Oman earlier this month.
“We have no need for foreigners to ensure the security of regional waters, which are currently secured by our navy men of the army and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps,” he said.
Vice Admiral Brad Cooper, who oversees the US Navy’s 5th Fleet, said during the trip around Hormuz that Iran has seized eight ships and attacked seven more during the past two years. IRGC fast boats reportedly watched the Paul Hamilton from a distance of less than 1km (0.5 nautical miles).
Iran has seized two oil tankers in regional waters in the past month, saying one was stopped in compliance with a judicial order while another was “fleeing” the region after hitting an Iranian vessel when it was diverted towards an Iranian port. –Agencies