Iran warns of war if 'Zionists' enter the Persian Gulf


Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohamed Ali al-Hakim has expressed his country's opposition to the Israeli regime's possible involvement in a US-led mission in the Persian Gulf, warning that the presence of foreign forces, including Western countries, in the strategic water body will be fueling tensions.

He added that Iraq was "seeking to reduce tensions in the region through negotiations, while the presence of Western forces in the region is increasing them".

Al-Hakim stressed Israel's participation in such a mission was unacceptable.

The United States has been seeking to assemble an worldwide coalition to "guarantee freedom of navigation" in the Gulf citing attacks on tankers in the strait where about 20 percent of the world's oil trade passes through.

The comments came after Israel said it will join a U.S. maritime coalition in the Persian Gulf, which the United States says is aimed at boosting the security of navigation in the body of water.

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The US had officially asked Germany to participate - alongside Britain and France - in the coalition, a request that was declined by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. Six oil tankers were targeted with explosives in the Gulf of Oman in unclaimed acts of sabotage that the United States blamed on Iran.

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has warned there's a potential for war if Israel joins the maritime coalition in the Persian Gulf. Israel's contribution to the mission would be limited to intelligence.

Pompeo said following London's announcement last week that it will help the United States "uphold freedom of navigation in the [Persian Gulf] region"; at the same time, the United Kingdom stressed that it remains "committed to working with Iran and our global partners to de-escalate the situation and maintain the [2015 Iran] nuclear deal". About 20 percent of the world's oil passes through that area.

The ship seizures came after British Royal Marines helped to impound a tanker carrying Iranian oil off the British overseas territory of Gibraltar on July 4, alleging it was destined for EU-sanctioned Syria, an accusation Iran denies.