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Sat Jul 21, 2012 12:36PM
Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi

Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi

No one is more concerned about security and stability in the Persian Gulf than regional countries,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast
The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman says the recent attack by US naval forces on an Emirati fishing boat in Persian Gulf waters proves Iran’s assertions that foreign forces pose a threat to the region. "No one is more concerned about security and stability in the Persian Gulf than regional countries,” emphasized Ramin Mehmanparast, adding that under the present sensitive circumstances “the presence of foreign forces is provocative and [perceived as a] threat.” “We advise regional countries to question the need for foreign military presence with closer and increased cooperation and we advise the countries with military presence [in the Persian Gulf] to be sensible and refrain from committing provocative acts,” he added. The shooting incident occurred on Monday off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. The Bahrain-based US Navy Fifth Fleet issued a statement on Monday, claiming that the USNS Rappahannock attacked a small motor boat near the Dubai port of Jebel Ali, killing one and injuring three Indian fishermen, after they "ignored the warnings and came too close.” The statement added that the US ship used a series of non-lethal, preplanned responses to warn the vessel's operators to turn away from their "deliberate" approach before resorting to lethal force. This is while the Indian fishermen who survived the deadly attack said on Tuesday that they had received no warnings before a .50-caliber gun opened fire on their boat, contradicting claims by US naval forces in the area. "We had no warning at all from the ship, we were speeding up to try and go around them and then suddenly we got fired at," 28-year-old Muthu Muniraj told Reuters from a hospital in Dubai on Tuesday. Mehmanparast went on to say that Salehi had briefly stopped in the UAE on his way to Japan to participate in a July 8 conference on Afghanistan and that he discussed issues of common interest and regional developments with Emirati officials. “Negotiations and dialogue [with the aim of] expressing different viewpoints …helps strengthen diplomacy,” said the Iranian official. MFB/HGH/IS
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