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Iran to US: We will brook no harassment of our oil tankers in intl. waters

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This file photo shows an oil tanker off the port of Bandar Abbas in southern Iran. (Via AFP)

Iran’s defense minister has warned the US of a firm and crushing response should it continue to harass the country’s ships and oil tankers in international waters.

“We will definitely give a firm and decisive response if harassments continue or escalate,” Brigadier General Amir Hatami told reporters on the sidelines of a weekly cabinet session on Wednesday.  

Hatami said US acts of harassment of tankers run against international law and endanger global security, calling on international organizations and those countries abiding by laws governing the security of waterways to adopt an appropriate reaction to the US moves.

He described the US acts of harassment at high seas as “piracy” but added, ”Our policies are crystal clear and we announced explicitly that we will tolerate no act of harassment.”  

The US has recently intensified its anti-Iran rhetoric, threatening to seize or target Iran's fuel-carrying vessels crossing the Caribbean to sanctions-hit Venezuela.

US officials say Washington is mulling over possible measures against Iran in response to its fuel shipment to crisis-stricken Venezuela, according to reports.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Sunday said the US’ provocative acts amounted to a form of piracy and a constituted a big threat to international peace and security.

The top Iranian diplomat highlighted the responsibility of the US administration with regard to the consequences of any illegal move, reiterating Iran's right right to adopt appropriate and necessary measures in the face of such threats.

Zarif’s warning came in a letter penned to United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres. 

Following Zarif's letter, Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Abbas Araqchi summoned the Swiss ambassador, whose country represents Washington’s interests in Tehran, to communicate the country's serious warning and vehement protest at the US provocations.

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