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Iran's top general: Israel's presence in region illegitimate, no need for foreign presence in Persian Gulf

Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri

Iran’s top general has dismissed the presence of the occupying Israeli regime in the region as illegitimate, saying it only foments insecurity for regional countries.

Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri made the remarks on Monday while addressing a ceremony held to unveil the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy’s domestically-developed patrol combat vessel named after the country’s top anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani.

“The presence of Israel in the region is illegitimate. It not only does nothing to help [bolster] the regional security, but also foments insecurity,” Iran’s top general said.

General Baqeri said, “Some regional countries have posed threats to the region through normalization of their relations with Israel. The Zionist regime joining the US Army’s terrorist CENTCOM can also face us with certain threats. Therefore, we cannot tolerate the regime’s presence” in the Persian Gulf.

He added, “In addition to voicing our protest through the country’s foreign policy [apparatus], we declare that we will not tolerate this process of espionage and creation of threat and will never back down on the rights of the Iranian nation as well as the security of our waters and land.”

Baqeri said the security of the Persian Gulf region should be established by regional countries, adding that there is no need for presence of foreign forces in the international waterway.

Iranian officials have repeatedly described Israel's destabilizing activities as the main source of insecurity in the region, warning regional countries about the perils of allowing Tel Aviv to establish a foothold in the region.

Commander of the IRGC Navy Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri said last month that any cooperation with the Israeli regime poses a threat to and disrupts security in the Persian Gulf region.

"We warn any country that prepares the ground for intervention and presence of arrogant powers in the region and gives them a base, space and soil to form a military coalition against regional nations that firstly, they will pay the heaviest price for their unfriendly and provocative behavior and secondly, the stable and secure situation of the region will pay a price for that," the IRGC commander said in an address to a meeting with IRGC commanders and officials.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Baqeri touched upon the issue of US Navy’s astray unmanned surface vessels (USVs) in regional waters, saying they have been disrupting naval security wherever they are present.

“Our reports indicate that our enemies are trying to make up for their troop drawdown in the region by creating new [military] units. Reports received by us indicate that they are trying to jeopardize the naval security through the launch of small surveillance units.”

Iran's Nour News website, close to the country's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), on Tuesday shed light on the circumstances surrounding the brief seizure by Iranian naval forces of a US unmanned surface vessel stranded in the Persian Gulf, saying the measure was taken to prevent possible maritime incidents and safeguard shipping lanes.

Nour News reported that the IRGC naval forces took “timely action” earlier in the day to seize the US vessel, whose “navigational system had failed,” and began towing it with the aim of supporting safe and secure shipping in the Persian Gulf.

A few days later, the Iranian Navy detailed seizing two American maritime drones in the Red Sea as means of preventing naval accidents in the international shipping lane.

The Navy’s Jamaran destroyer encountered the “data collecting” vessels during a routine operation aimed at securing shipping routes and confronting piracy and maritime terrorism, the Navy said in a statement on Thursday.

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