Flashpoint / Global 15 October 2019 Strait of Hormuz Share Facebook Twitter Email Print Back To Map I. Why it Matters In recent years, the U.S. and Iranian navies have had numerous tense encounters in the Persian Gulf, where 30 per cent of the world’s seaborne-traded crude oil passes through the Strait of Hormuz every day. An intentional or inadvertent incident at sea could quickly escalate into a direct military confrontation, and risk shipping through the critical energy chokepoint. II. Recent Developments 15 October 2019 Foreign Minister Zarif praised Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan “for his efforts toward peace in the Persian Gulf”. He also called on “colleagues in the leaderships of other regional states to join Iran in forging a blueprint for peace, security, stability and prosperity” through the Hormuz Peace Initiative. View More 14 October 2019 President Rouhani contended that “what happened in the Red Sea when our tanker was targeted [on 11 October] has caused problems that hopefully our investigations will soon reach a conclusion. What is certain is that a regime has done this with the help of some countries, how and when is not clear yet and we are finalising the investigations”. View More 13 October 2019 In a meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, President Rouhani noted that “foreign interference will add to the insecurity. The first step to ease tensions in the region is to establish a cease-fire in Yemen and end attacks on the innocent Yemenis, and Iran supports any attempt in this regard”. He further argued that “to resolve regional issues, we require changing strategies towards political dialogue with goodwill, security-building and developing regional cooperation… relying on terrorists, the Zionist regime [i.e. Israel], and the U.S. has no fruit except for more tension and damages to Islamic countries and regional nations, and does not guarantee security for any country and the region”. Rouhani also stated that “sustainable security and peace in the Persian Gulf, the Sea of Oman and the Strait of Hormuz can only be achieved through the participation of regional states”, adding that “Iran is always ready for dialogue and cooperation with all countries in the region”. Rouhani went on to posit that “the U.S.’ request for negotiation without preconditions is not an honest move with sanctions in place… we are ready to negotiation within the framework of the JCPOA if sanctions are lifted”. View More 11 October 2019 Discussing U.S.-led maritime security initiatives, the U.S. Special Representative for Iran, Brian Hook, indicated that “we have asked nations to contribute maritime and aviation assets so that we have more eyes on that area. The more people that we have there, it makes it harder for Iran to execute its operations against tankers and other things like they’ve done in the past, if they ever wanted to threaten to mine the Strait of Hormuz, which they’ve done in the past, take out oil tankers, capture oil tankers in other countries’ waters”. View More 11 October 2019 Iran’s diplomatic spokesperson confirmed that an “Iranian tanker has sustained damages after being targeted twice, at half-hourly intervals, from a place near its shipping route in the east of the Red Sea” on 10 October. He also indicated that “over the past few months, other acts of sabotage have been launched against Iranian oil tankers in the Red Sea”. Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani asserted that “piracy and evil deeds in international waterways, which are carried out with the aim of making commercial ships’ sailing insecure, will not go unanswered”. A senior Saudi official on 13 October disavowed any involvement, stating that “we did not engage in such behaviour at all. This is not how we operate… the story is still not complete. So let’s wait and find out what happened before we jump to conclusions”. View More 10 October 2019 In an article for a Kuwaiti newspaper, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif wrote that “the destiny of people and nations in the Persian Gulf region is closely intertwined… security in that region cannot be divided. Either all in the region enjoy security or all are deprived of it”. He went on elaborate on Iran’s Hormuz Peace Endeavour proposal as having “what it takes to realise lasting security in the region through intra-regional dialogue”, adding that “we have pinned our hopes on the implementation of this initiative and await positive reaction to the proposed plan by the regional countries”. View More 9 October 2019 Secretary of State Pompeo stated that “oil from the Adrian Darya 1 has been offloaded in Syria, proving that Iran lied to the UK and Gibraltar. This terrorist oil will fund Assad’s war and Iran’s sectarian violence”. He further asserted that “EU members should condemn this action, uphold the rule of law and hold Iran accountable”. View More 9 October 2019 An Iranian security official asserted that “the Persian Gulf does not accept microbial viruses like the fleet of Western countries’ warships… the message of all nations of the Persian Gulf region is that they [foreign fleets] should end their inauspicious presence so that the region becomes peaceful”. View More 7 October 2019 Secretary of State Pompeo spoke with UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab about “a variety of international security challenges, including Iran’s destabilising role in the Middle East and Turkey’s plans to potentially invade Syria”. View More 7 October 2019 Iran’s army chief declared that “we have maintained the security of the Persian Gulf for [the past] forty years and will continue to do so with full power after this, and will give a crushing response to any threat posed by the enemy at any level”. He went on to opine that “with help from other regional countries, this region could be the most secure region in the world”. View More 4 October 2019 A senior U.S. military official assessed with respect to the Iranians that “I don’t believe that they’re drawing back at all” since the 14 September attack against Saudi energy facilities, which he asserted was carried out to “send a signal and harass and provoke”. Referring to U.S.-led maritime security operations, the official indicated that “what [Operation] Sentinel seeks to do is shine a flashlight across that and make sure that if anything happens in the maritime, they will be exposed for that activity… we’ve created essentially a zone defence”. View More 2 October 2019 Secretary of State Pompeo contended that "the Iranian leadership is having to make difficult decisions about resource allocation inside of their own country. And we remain hopeful that there will be an opportunity to discuss with the Iranians the path forward". "President Trump has said repeatedly we are working every day to deter [Iran]", Pompeo continued, "with the maritime initiative that we have in the Strait of Hormuz, to de-escalate and to create opportunities for diplomacy. That's the approach that we have taken. It's the one that we'll continue to take". View More 30 September 2019 Iran’s military chief of staff remarked that “a sustainable and strong form of deterrence has been created in the face of enemy’s plot to carry out any act of aggression against the Islamic Iran and enemies have understood that the Islamic Iran enjoys the readiness, determination and courage and will not hesitate to defend its ideals, land and people”. He further stated that “Iran, as a superior regional power, recognises its responsibility for maintaining regional security and stability and plays a basic role in this regard”. Iran “does not think about... waging war and sowing insecurity and seeks calm and tranquillity through regional cooperation”, he added. View More 29 September 2019 A senior U.S. naval official was in Riyadh for discussions with Saudi counterparts on "our mutual efforts going forward to coordinate defence against provocation and attack". View More 28 September 2019 In his address to the UN General Assembly, Bahrain’s foreign minister remarked that “the adoption of the Iranian regime of transitional terrorism has created networks of terrorist organisations and extremist militias, located in many places and different parts of the world such as Syria, Yemen, North Africa, the countries of the Sahara and the Sahel, South America and others. This requires us to intensify our efforts and enhance collective cooperation in order to eliminate them and prevent their return in any form”. He also applauded “the decisive course taken by the friendly U.S. in confronting Iran and its affiliates in the region, through exerting maximum pressure and imposing strict sanctions”. He went on to assert that “global energy supplies and maritime navigation in the waters of the Arabian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz and the region as a whole are severely threatened by the behaviour of the Iranian regime and its frequent targeting of commercial vessels in the region”, adding condemnation of the 14 September attacks on Saudi energy facilities “which Iran bears responsibility for”. View More 25 September 2019 In an address to the UN General Assembly, President Rouhani reaffirmed that “we remain committed to our promises in the [nuclear] deal. However, our patience has a limit”. He also declared that Iran would “never negotiate with an enemy that seeks to force Iran to surrender with the weapon of poverty, pressure and sanction… stop the sanctions so as to open the war for the start of negotiations”. Rouhani also asserted that “the security doctrine of the Islamic Republic of Iran is based on the maintenance of peace and stability in the Persian Gulf and providing freedom of movement in the Strait of Hormuz. Recent incidents have seriously endangered such security”. He went on to “invite all the countries directly affected by the developments in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz to the ‘Coalition for Hope’, meaning Hormuz Peace Endeavour”. “The security of the region shall be provided when American troops pull out”, Rouhani argued, further stating that “our region is on the edge of collapse, as a single blunder can fuel a big fire. We shall not tolerate the provocative intervention of foreigners… however, the alternative and proper solution for us is to strengthen consolidation among all the nations with common interests in the Persian Gulf and the Hormuz region”. Foreign Minister Zarif subsequently explained that the Hormuz Peace Endeavour involved “dialogue, confidence-building, freedom of navigation, energy security, non-aggression and non-intervention”. View More 24 September 2019 Iran’s military chief of staff declared that “we have repeatedly warned the enemies that if they invade this country… the result of this invasion will be captivity and defeat”. “We say to the neighboring countries that we have no enmity with you”, he added. “Countries like Saudi Arabia and the UAE are Muslim countries that have lost their path and should side with Iran so that the regional security will be preserved”. View More 23 September 2019 An Iranian diplomat indicated that “the British-flagged tanker ‘Stena Impero’, pursuant to the completion of the judicial and legal process, is now free to leave”. In a statement the following day, the CEO of Stena Bulk said that “despite public statements by Iranian authorities… that judicial proceedings have concluded, and the Stena Impero is free to leave Iran, the vessel remains detained at anchor in Bandar Abbas”. View More 23 September 2019 President Rouhani stated that “we seek mass cooperation within the Persian Gulf region for regional security, and we want all countries in the region to participate " in Iran’s “Hormuz Peace Initiative”. View More 22 September 2019 President Rouhani declared that “we extend the hand of friendship to all our neighbours at this critical juncture. To do so, we are ready to even forgive their past mistakes, because we are in conditions that the enemies of the region, especially the U.S., imperialism and Zionism are seeking to take advantage of division”. He added that “our logic is based on self-ensuring security for the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz, and the presence of foreign forces in this region can cause problems”. Rouhani also indicated that “we are going to propose an initiative in the UN that is based on the fact that the Islamic Republic of Iran can ensure the security of the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman with the help of regional countries”. View More 20 September 2019 U.S. Secretary of Defence Mark Esper asserted that “in recent months, Iran has increased its military activity through direct attacks and support to its proxies in the region”, adding that “all indications are that Iran was responsible for the attack” against Saudi energy facilities on 14 September. Esper announced that “in response to the Kingdom [of Saudi Arabia’s] request, the president has approved the deployment of U.S. forces, which will be defensive in nature and primarily focussed on air and missile defence. We will also work to accelerate the delivery of military equipment to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE to enhance their ability to defend themselves”. View More 19 September 2019 The UAE signed on to the U.S.-led International Maritime Security Construct. View More 18 September 2019 Iran's Supreme National Security Council Secretary, Ali Shamkhani, stated that “Iran’s strategic policy is to reduce tensions, avoid any conflict and resolve regional crises through dialogue. However, the country is fully prepared to monitor any intention or attempt to attack the Islamic Republic or its interests and will surprise aggressors most severely through a crushing and comprehensive response to possible evil actions”. View More 17 September 2019 Saudi Arabia signed on the U.S.-led International Maritime Security Construct. View More 16 September 2019 President Rouhani told his Turkish counterpart that “guaranteeing the security of the Persian Gulf waterways, the Sea of Oman and the Strait of Hormuz has always been important for Iran as the largest littoral state”. Rouhani added that “the security of regional waterways has to be protected only by its littoral states, and that the presence of U.S. forces and them inviting other countries to be present in the region will only increase the existing problems and tensions”. View More 15 September 2019 A senior IRGC commander warned that “all American bases and their vessels in a distance of up to 2,000km [from Iran borders] are within the range of our missiles”. He went to say that “we have constantly prepared ourselves for a full-fledged war”. View More 12 September 2019 The U.S. State Department's spokesperson, Morgan Ortagus, stated that “we have seen reports that the Iranian vessel Adrian Darya, formally Grace 1, remains anchored off the shores of Syria, which we’ve been saying was its intended destination all along. Now we’ve seen firsthand the Iranian regime renege on its assurances to the EU that the vessel would not transport oil to the murderous Assad regime”. Ortagus added that “this fits into the web of lies perpetrated by the Iranian regime for 40 years”, further noting that “despite the revolutionary promises of a better society, the thugs in Tehran have consistently repressed women, minorities and human rights advocates”. View More 12 September 2019 In China, Iran’s military chief of staff stated that “Iran is fully ready under the current circumstances to defend its security and interests in the Persian Gulf”. He further argued that “history shows that we have never initiated [an act of] aggression or a war and will not do so, but we will firmly defend our security and sovereignty in case of any aggression or intervention by foreigners”. View More 11 September 2019 The Arab Quartet Ministerial Committee for Follow-up of the Crisis with Iran and Response to its Interventions in Arab Internal Affairs, chaired by the UAE and including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the Secretary-General of the Arab League, “condemned Iran's continued support for terrorist and subversive acts in the Arab countries, including the continued firing of Iranian-made ballistic missiles from Yemeni territory into populated cities in the Kingdom”. It also denounced remarks by Hizbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s as “intended to provoke sedition and incite hatred; and which is an extension of the dangerous role of this terrorist party, which is considered as one of the arms of Iran aiming to destabilise the security and stability in the region”. Iran’s diplomatic spokesperson responded that “the rehash of groundless accusations against [Iran’s] eternal ownership of its three islands in the Persian Gulf and the blame game by some Arab countries whose regional policies have failed are… the reason behind their failure to understand the realities of the region and the world”. He went on to say that “it is regrettable that some, instead of relying on the power of Persian Gulf states, make divergent, unfounded and undocumented allegations about the security of the region and welcome foreigners with their desperation”. View More 10 September 2019 National Security Advisor John Bolton asserted that “now that we’re two weeks from the UN General Assembly, you can be sure Iran is working overtime on deception. Let’s review the greatest hits, starting with the most recent. Iran denied the Adrian Darya 1 was headed to Syria, then confirmed today its oil was offloaded there”. View More 8 September 2019 Iran’s diplomatic spokesperson announced that “the Adrian Darya oil tanker finally docked on the Mediterranean coast and unloaded its cargo despite acts of sabotage by the U.S.”. He further underscored that “we had already announced that we would sell our oil in any way and that acts of sabotage would not affect our plans”. View More 6 September 2019 U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton tweeted imagery showing the Iranian oil tanker Adrian Darya-1 off the Syrian coast and stated that “anyone who said the Adrian Darya 1 wasn’t headed to Syria is in denial. Tehran thinks it’s more important to fund the murderous Assad regime than provide for its own people”. He contended that “we can talk, but Iran’s not getting any sanctions relief until it stops lying and spreading terror!” View More 4 September 2019 The Swedish government confirmed “the release of some of the crew members of Swedish-owned and UK-flagged Stena Impero”, which Iran detained in the Strait of Hormuz on 19 July. View More 30 August 2019 The U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned “Adrian Darya 1, an oil tanker transporting 2.1 million barrels of Iranian crude oil ultimately benefitting Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force”, as well as its captain. Secretary of State Pompeo advised that “any who would consider supporting the IRGC should heed this warning”, adding that “non-U.S. persons who knowingly provide significant goods, services, or support to the individuals and entities designated today may themselves face sanctions consequences”. Pompeo also indicated that “the U.S. will continue to increase pressure on the Iranian regime until it changes its behaviour”. National Security Advisor John Bolton commented that “sanctions are serious, and so is captaining a vessel engaged in illicit activity. Let this be a lesson to anyone tempted to support moving Iranian oil destined for Assad’s murderous regime”. On 31 August Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif contended that the “U.S. engages in piracy and threats to prevent Iran from selling oil to traditional customers”. “Stop nagging Secretary Pompeo”, Zarif added. “We will sell oil to any and all buyers”. View More 28 August 2019 U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo met with Saudi Deputy Defence Minister Khalid bin Salman and “reiterated U.S. support for a negotiated resolution between the Republic of Yemen government and the Southern Transitional Council”. They additionally discussed “the need for stronger maritime security in order to promote freedom of navigation [and] the Iranian regime’s destabilising activities in the region”. View More 26 August 2019 U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton called for “all hands on deck in the campaign to stop Iran from funding terror, destabilising the globe, and breaking international sanctions. Tthe illicit oil heading to Turkey on the Adrian Darya 1 must not be allowed [to be] off-loaded in port or at sea”. An Iranian official announced that the ship’s cargo had been purchased by an undisclosed buyer, adding that “I don’t know its destination”. View More 25 August 2019 A senior Iranian military official argued that “in our view, [the] formation of any coalition in the region without the participation of regional countries would create tensions… therefore, anyone joining the [U.S.-led maritime] coalition is considered to have made a hostile act against the Islamic Republic”. View More 23 August 2019 Foreign Minister Zarif stated that “the U.S. has exacerbated tension in the Persian Gulf and elsewhere. Freedom of navigation is a global responsibility and the U.S. is committing piracy, in Gibraltar, with the help of some of its friends elsewhere”. He went on to say that “we are engaged in a war. It’s an economic war that the U.S. has imposed on Iran… I believe the U.S. should be pressured by the rest of the international community to abandon its policy of pressure and intimidation. It won’t work”. View More 22 August 2019 Foreign Minister Zarif declared that “it’s clear that the U.S.’ intention… [of having a] naval presence in the Persian Gulf is to counter Iran”. “Don’t expect us to remain quiet when somebody comes to our waters and threatens us”, Zarif added. View More 22 August 2019 The IRGC's commander, Hossein Salami, asserted that “no country or coalition, except countries of the Persian Gulf region, can provide the area with security”. He further argued that “past experiences show that whenever other powers sought to set foot in the region with the claim of ensuring security, they only led to the escalation of tensions and even wars”. View More 21 August 2019 Secretary of State Pompeo contented that “we're going to continue to do our best to ensure that particular shipment [of crude oil aboard the Grace 1/Adrian Darya 1 tanker] doesn't get into the hands of terrorists so it can risk American lives or lives of citizens in any other part of the world”. He further underscored that “we put in place a set of sanctions designed to deny the ayatollah the wealth to terrorise the world conventionally or with nuclear weapons, and we've been pretty effective”. We can see with Hizbollah…we can see with the Shiite forces in Iraq. We can see that they have fewer dollars. They're having to make really difficult decisions about whether to spend money on defence or just spend money back home”. He added that “we hope they will ultimately conclude that the best thing to do is to rejoin the community of nations, to stop conducting assassination campaigns in Europe, to cease with terror operations supporting Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip or Hizbollah in Lebanon and Syria”. “I don’t know that they will”, Pompeo assessed. “They’re pretty wedded to it, it’s ideological. It’s not even about logic. It’s deeply ingrained in their revolutionary culture, and we hope that the Iranian people will see a way to get the leadership in Iran to change its behaviour”. View More 21 August 2019 President Rouhani remarked that “we have chosen the right path in reducing our ]JCPOA] commitments, and we have reiterated that there is a limit to our patience”. He added that “world powers know that if Iran’s oil export is reduced to zero, international waterways will not have the same security they used to; therefore, unilateral pressure against Iran cannot be to their benefit and ensure their security in the region and the world”. View More 20 August 2019 The U.S. Special Representative for Iran, Brian Hook, indicated that “we have called upon governments and the maritime community to deny passage of any Iranian oil tankers, to deny them docking privileges… if you are a crew member or a captain on a vessel moving Iranian that has been – then you are subject to criminal and immigration consequences”. He further remarked that “we’re tracking the movements of all Iranian oil tankers because… the Iranian regime uses oil to fund its malign activities and to support its terrorist operations around the Middle East, and it’s important for nations to take that threat seriously”. View More 19 August 2019 Meeting with the head of U.S. Central Command, Bahrain’s King Hamad “confirmed the Kingdom of Bahrain’s participation in the joint effort to preserve the safety of international maritime navigation and secure international corridors for trade and energy in the region”. In a statement, the CENTCOM chief welcomed Bahrain’s participation and asserted that “threats to the free flow of commerce are an international problem requiring an international solution, and we are pleased that the Kingdom of Bahrain will be a part of that solution”. View More 19 August 2019 Iran’s diplomatic spokesperson stated that “the U.S. request for the continued detention [of Iran’s Grace 1 oil tanker] is illegal”. He went on to say that “through its official channels, and especially the Swiss embassy, Iran has warned U.S. officials not to make the mistake [of seizing it] because they would face bad consequences”. View More 18 August 2019 President Trump contended that “Iran would like to talk. They just don’t know quite how to get there… I have a feeling that maybe things with Iran could work out, and maybe not”. He added that “if you notice, they haven’t taken any of our boats. They haven’t taken our ships. They’ve taken ships, but they haven’t taken our ships, and they better not”. Trump went on to say that “Iran has tremendous potential, and we can do something very fast, but they don’t quite know how to begin because they’re proud people… but their economy is crashing. Their economy is a disaster. They’ve got to do something, so let’s see what happens”. View More 18 August 2019 A senior IRGC commander warned “the Persian Gulf countries that if an incident was to occur for one of the atomic battleships in the Persian Gulf, they wouldn’t even have drinking water anymore”. View More 15 August 2019 Gibraltar announced that an Iranian tanker, Grace 1, detained on 4 July was “now released from detention”, while also noting that the U.S. had “requested that a new legal procedure for the detention of the vessel should be commenced”. In a statement, the State Department indicated that “the U.S. assesses that the M/T Grace 1 was assisting the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) by transporting oil from Iran to Syria. This could result in serious consequences for any individuals associated with the Grace 1”. The statement went on to note that “crewmembers of vessels assisting the IRGC by transporting oil from Iran may be ineligible for visas or admission to the U.S.”, adding that “the U.S. will continue to use all the tools at its disposal to deny Iran and its proxies the resources they need to engage in malign and destabilising activities in Syria and elsewhere”. View More 15 August 2019 Gibraltar announced than an Iranian tanker, Grace 1, detained on 4 July was “now released from detention”, while also noting that the U.S. had “requested that a new legal procedure for the detention of the vessel should be commenced”. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif contended that “the U.S. attempted to abuse the legal system to steal our property on the high seas”, adding that “this piracy attempt is indicative of the Trump administration’s contempt for the law”. View More 15 August 2019 National Security Advisor John Bolton asserted that Iran is “a country that never really made the key decision to give up nuclear weapons. They have not modified their widespread support for international terrorism. They've not given up their troublemaking in the Middle East, in Iraq and Syria and Yemen. They’re still a threat in the Persian Gulf to oil, they’re a threat to our forces, not just in Iraq and Syria, but now in Afghanistan”. “This is a regime really that needs a fundamental change in its behaviour”, Bolton added. View More 14 August 2019 President Rouhani remarked that “all propaganda about a new coalition in the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman are impractical and superficial. Without a doubt, if a part of these propagandas is put into action, they will not be beneficial for the security of the region”. He went on to say that “regional states can ensure the security of the region with unity, integrity and dialogue”. Referring to Israel’s involvement in a U.S.-led maritime security initiative, President Rouhani stated that “the Israelis had better ensure the security of where they are! They have brought about insecurity, massacre and terror wherever they were present”. View More 12 August 2019 Foreign Minister Zarif asserted that “the threats [in the region] are coming from the U.S. and its allies who are pouring weapons in the region, making it a tinderbox ready to blow up”. He added that “based on experience, the presence of U.S. and foreign naval fleet in the Persian Gulf has never produced security”. Zarif further suggested that “the best the Americans can do for protection of maritime navigation is to just leave people alone. Don't interfere, this is a hostile act against Iran and I don't believe any other impact other than insecurity”. View More 11 August 2019 Iranian President Rouhani told the Emir of Qatar that “the maintenance and strengthening of regional security, especially in the Persian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman, is very important for Iran”. He further stated that “Tehran believes that the ease of regional tensions is beneficial for everyone and we hope that the Americans realise that the path they have chosen is incorrect, which will not have any winner. They have to change their behaviour”. View More 9 August 2019 Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif stated that the “Persian Gulf is [a] vital lifeline and thus national security priority for Iran, which has long ensured maritime security”. He contended that “mindful of this reality, any extra-regional presence is by definition [a] source of insecurity - despite propaganda. Iran won't hesitate to safeguard its security”. View More 9 August 2019 Iran’s diplomatic spokesperson called Israel’s involvement in a U.S.-led maritime security initiative “a clear threat to Iran's national security”, and asserted that “Iran reserves the right to counter this threat within the framework of the country's defence policy”. “Responsibility for all the consequences of this dangerous act would lie with the American regime and the illegitimate Zionist regime”, he added. View More 8 August 2019 Iran's Defence Minister, Amir Hatami, asserted that “the military coalition that the U.S. wants to form under the pretext of providing shipping security will only further escalate insecurity in the region”. Hatami added that “security must be provided by the regional countries, who should enter constructive negotiations in this regard”, and argued that “the region should not become a place for the free presence of aliens”. He also indicated that Israeli involvement in U.S.-led maritime initiatives “would be extremely provocative and have disastrous consequences for the region”. View More 7 August 2019 The U.S. Maritime Administration issued an advisory regarding commercial shipping in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, which noted that “heightened military activity and increased political tensions in this region continue to pose serious threats to commercial vessels” and cautioned that “vessels operating in the Persian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz and Gulf of Oman may… counter GPS interference, bridge-to-bridge communications spoofing and/or other communications jamming with little or no warning”. View More 7 August 2019 Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz reportedly indicated that “Israel was assisting the [U.S. maritime security] mission with intelligence and other unspecified fields”. View More 6 August 2019 President Rouhani told his French counterpart that “we pay special attention to security and freedom of navigation in the region and Strait of Hormuz. Tens of ships navigate freely in the region, and Iranian forces monitor the process based on regulations”. He also reiterated that “by reducing its [nuclear] commitments, Iran has been seeking to secure its interests under the JCPOA and get other signatories to live up to their commitments for further stability and solidity of the important deal”. View More 4 August 2019 Iran and Qatar held a joint coast guard meeting in Tehran. View More 4 August 2019 Secretary of State Pompeo indicated that “we’re asking every nation that has energy needs, that has goods and services passing through to contribute to our effort, which is deter and create stability in the Strait of Hormuz”. “Every country will contribute something different”, Pompeo added. “Information sharing, ships at sea, communications systems, ISR, all the elements of delivering this defensive deterrent posture in the Strait of Hormuz”. In related remarks, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper asserted that “the U.S. has been very clear that the purpose of our proposed operations in the Strait of Hormuz, the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Oman has been twofold – first of all, to promote the principle of freedom of navigation and freedom of commerce through all waterways, particularly that one, number one. Number two is to prevent any provocative actions by Iran that might lead to some misunderstanding or miscalculation that could lead to a conflict”. View More 4 August 2019 The IRGC announced that it had on 31 July seized a foreign oil tanker near Farsi island in the Persian Gulf for “smuggling 700,000 litres of fuel”. View More 31 July 2019 Bahrain hosted an international meeting to “discuss means to enhance international cooperation and coordination in order to combat the rejected and repeated hostile practices of Iran and its terrorist affiliates, which aim to undermine the security of maritime navigation in the Arabia Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz”. Media reports had earlier indicated that the UK had helped convene the consultations with U.S. and European participation. View More 30 July 2019 A UAE delegation visited Tehran for discussions on maritime cooperation. View More 30 July 2019 President Rouhani told his French counterpart that “Iran has always been the main provider of freedom and security of navigation in the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman, and it will continue to play this role”. He added that “Iran has not begun any tension in the region and will not do so, but it will defend its interests against any tension creation powerfully". With regards to Iran’s incremental breaches of the JCPOA, Rouhani stated that “the more time passes and Iran takes the next steps, the harder it will be for both sides to return to the beginning point”, while also noting that “Iran’s move to reduce its JCPOA commitments so far is able to return to its previous state very fast if Iran’s economic interests are met”. View More 29 July 2019 Discussing the Strait of Hormuz, Secretary of State Pompeo asserted that “we’re going to keep them open. We’re going to build out a maritime security plan. Countries from all across the world who have a vested interest in keeping those waterways open will participate”. “It will take more time than we wish it would take”, Pompeo added, “but I’m very confident that the world understands its importance, that America is prepared to be a significant part of that, but we need countries from all across the world to assist us in protecting commercial transit”. View More 29 July 2019 A senior Iranian military official claimed that “we are able to discover various types of so-called stealth aircraft and drones of the enemy”, adding that “[we] powerfully discover and warn a variety of advanced American aircraft”. View More 24 July 2019 Elaborating on President Trump’s 18 July announcement that the U.S. had downed an Iranian drone (which Tehran denied), a senior U.S. military official asserted that “we are confident we brought down one drone, we may have brought down a second”. View More 24 July 2019 A senior Iranian military official warned that “any change in the status of the Strait of Hormuz will open the door to a dangerous confrontation”. View More 24 July 2019 President Rouhani asserted that “along with maintaining the security of the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, the Islamic Republic of Iran works for the safety of other waterways in the world, including the Bab al-Mandab and the Indian Ocean”. In apparent reference to the seizure by Iran of a UK-flagged tanker on 19 July, Rouhani added: “The Strait of Hormuz has a very important location; it’s not to be taken as a joke or for a country to ignore international regulations, and enter the region in the wrong direction and disregard the IRGC’s warnings, who are responsible for the security of the Strait of Hormuz”. He further asserted that “the main responsibility for protecting the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf is mainly with Iran and neighbouring countries, and is not the others’ business”. View More 23 July 2019 At a meeting with U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Prime Minster Netanyahu asserted that U.S. “sanctions have begun to work, and it’s important that they continue to work”. “It’s important to keep up the pressure”, Netanyahu added. “If I had to say what are the three things that we have to do in the face of Iranian aggression, it is pressure, pressure and more pressure to force Iran to abandon its nuclear and regional ambitions”. He went on to state that “we cannot allow Iran to disrupt the flow of oil in international waters, and again, I think the first requirement is the application of still greater pressure on Iran. I would not show any hesitation. I’m a leader who’s shown judicious use of force, and I think in this case, the judicious use of pressure is what is required”. View More 23 July 2019 French Foreign Minister Le Drian stated that “we are setting up a European initiative, with Britain and Germany, to ensure that there is a mission to monitor and observe maritime security in the Gulf”. He further clarified that “this is the opposite of the American initiative which is about maximum pressure to make Iran go back on a certain number of objectives… in that respect, we should even go further and think about a joint securitisation approach in the Gulf, diplomatically speaking. This way, we’ll really be in a logic of de-escalation”. View More 22 July 2019 Saudi Arabia’s minister of state for foreign affairs, Adel al-Jubeir, stated that “any attack on the freedom of navigation is a violation of international law. Iran must realize that its acts of intercepting ships, including most recently the British ship, are completely unacceptable”. He further asserted that “the world community must take actions to deter such behaviour”. View More 22 July 2019 Referring to the recent tensions with the UK, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif stated that “it's important for everybody to realize, it's important for Boris Johnson to understand, that Iran does not seek confrontation”. He added that “Iran wants to have normal relations based on mutual respect”. UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesperson stated that “we do not seek confrontation with Iran but it is unacceptable and highly escalatory to seize a ship going about legitimate business through internationally recognized shipping lanes”. Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt described Iran’s 19 July detention of the UK-flagged Stena Impero as “state piracy”, adding that “we will now seek to put together a European-led maritime protection mission to support safe passage of both crew and cargo in this vital region”. View More 20 July 2019 Following Iran’s seizure of a UK-flagged tanker on 19 July, UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt stated that “Iran may be choosing a dangerous path of illegal and destabilising behaviour after Gibraltar’s legal detention of oil bound for Syria”, adding that “our reaction will be considered but robust”. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif posited that “unlike the piracy in the Strait of Gibraltar, our action in the Persian Gulf is to uphold international maritime rules”. He went on to say that “it is Iran that guarantees the security of the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz. [The] UK must cease being an accessory to the economic terrorism of the U.S.”. View More 19 July 2019 The IRGC announced that it had detained a UK-flagged oil tanker, Stena Impero, in the Strait of Hormuz. A second vessel, Mesdar, was also boarded but let off with a warning about “safety issues”. UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt called the seizure “completely unacceptable” and asserted that “if this situation is not resolved quickly there will be serious consequences”. View More 19 July 2019 U.S. Central Command announced and Saudi Arabia confirmed that “in coordination with and at the invitation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Secretary of Defense has authorized the movement of U.S. personnel and resources to deploy to Saudi Arabia”. View More 19 July 2019 U.S. Central Command announced that it was “developing a multinational maritime effort, Operation Sentinel, to increase surveillance of and security in key waterways in the Middle East to ensure freedom of navigation”. The statement added that “this maritime security framework will enable nations to provide escort to their flagged vessels while taking advantage of the cooperation of participating nations for coordination and enhanced maritime domain awareness and surveillance”. View More 18 July 2019 President Trump stated that a U.S. vessel “took defensive action against an Iranian drone, which had closed into a very, very near distance… ignoring multiple calls to stand down and was threatening the safety of the ship and the ship’s crew. The drone was immediately destroyed”. Trump described the incident as “the latest of many provocative and hostile actions by Iran against vessels operating in international waters”, and added that “the U.S. reserves the right to defend our personnel, our facilities, and interests, and calls upon all nations to condemn Iran’s attempts to disrupt freedom of navigation and global commerce”. Iran denied losing a drone. View More 17 July 2019 The U.S. Special Representative for Iran, Brian Hook, and Bahrain’s Foreign Minister jointly announced that Bahrain would host an international meeting on maritime security later in the year. View More 11 July 2019 In a statement, the British defence ministry asserted that “three Iranian vessels attempted to impede the passage of a commercial vessel, British Heritage, through the Strait of Hormuz”. The IRGC rejected the claim, stating that “there have been no encounters with foreign vessels, including the British ones”. View More 11 July 2019 Secretary of State Pompeo remarked that “the U.S. condemns the IRGC-Navy’s attempt to harass the UK vessel near the Strait of Hormuz. We commend the Royal Navy in ensuring freedom of navigation and will continue to work with our allies to ensure the Iranian regime does not disrupt maritime security and global commerce”. View More 10 July 2019 A U.S. senior defence official remarked that “we’re engaging now with a number of countries to see if we can put together a coalition that would ensure freedom of navigation both in the Straits of Hormuz and the Bab al-Mandab”. View More 1 July 2019 The head of Israel’s foreign intelligence service blamed Iran for the tanker incidents in the Gulf of Oman and an attack on the Bahrain’s embassy in Iraq, contending that “with certainty, based on the best sources of both Israeli and Western espionage… Iran is behind these attacks. They were approved by Iranian leadership and carried out, in large part, by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its proxies”. View More 28 June 2019 The U.S. special representative for Iran, Brian Hook, stated that “If we do not prevent Iranians from laying down deep roots in Yemen, they will be in a position to threaten to close the Strait of Hormuz and Bab al-Mandab”. He went on to say that “an outlaw regime is violating basic maritime law and now represents a maritime threat across the Gulf”. View More 26 June 2019 Discussing Iran during a visit to India, Secretary Pompeo argued that the U.S. had done “everything it can to de-escalate. If there is conflict, if there is war, if there’s a kinetic activity, it will because the Iranians made that choice. I hope that they do not. I don’t think they should ever mistake President Trump for not being prepared to defend American interest all around the world, and I hope that the world will come to defend that waterway that is so central to the Indian economy”. He went on to say that “the world needs to join together to ensure that there’s free and open navigation in that waterway. When we do that, when we do that in a serious way, we’ll deter Iranian aggression, and we’ll get Iran to behave like we’ve asked them to. Nothing special, we just want them to behave like a normal country. That’s not too much to ask for them”. View More 26 June 2019 A senior IRGC official asserted that “the enemy knows that if it makes mischief in the Persian Gulf, it will not survive, and its failure will not be limited to only damage to the equipment”. View More 25 June 2019 A senior Russian official stated that Moscow shared Tehran’s assessment that a U.S. drone shot down by Iran on 20 June had, contrary to the U.S. position, entered Iran’s airspace. View More 25 June 2019 In a statement, France, Germany and the UK (E3) jointly indicated that they were “gravely concerned by the increased tensions in the Gulf”, which “risk miscalculation and conflict”. They also reiterated “their commitment to the full implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2231 and the preservation of the JCPOA”. View More 25 June 2019 Speaking one day after the U.S. imposed sanctions against Iranian political and military leaders, President Rouhani remarked that “today, there is a great confusion and frustration in the U.S. administration; they are frustrated because whatever they do does not lead them to any result… the White House is suffering mental disability and doesn’t know what to do”. Referring to the downing of the U.S. drone on 20 June, he stated that “our patience lasts until the beginning of our red line, and the borders of our country are our red line; when a drone crosses our borders, it has crossed our red line and we have the right to defend ourselves”. Rouhani went on to say that “imposing sanctions on the highest political, social, religious and spiritual leader of a country, who is not only the leader of Iran, but also the leader of Muslims and Shiites and the followers of the Islamic Revolution throughout the world is a ridiculous act”. Referring to the U.S., he further argued that “if they were seeking negotiations, they would not withdraw from a deal that was struck out of negotiation”. In related remarks, Iran’s diplomatic spokespersons said the sanctions “means the permanent closure of the path to diplomacy with the desperate US administration” View More 24 June 2019 Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif argued that “President Trump is 100 per cent right that the U.S. military has no business in the Persian Gulf. Removal of its forces is fully in line with interests of U.S. and the world. But it's now clear that the B-Team is not concerned with U.S. interests—they despise diplomacy, and thirst for war”. View More 24 June 2019 President Trump argued that “China gets 91 per cent of its Oil from the Straight[sic], Japan 62 per cent, and many other countries likewise. So why are we protecting the shipping lanes for other countries (many years) for zero compensation. All of these countries should be protecting their own ships on what has always been a dangerous journey. We don’t even need to be there in that the U.S. has just become (by far) the largest producer of energy anywhere in the world! The U.S. request for Iran is very simple - no nuclear weapons and no further sponsoring of terror!” View More 23 June 2019 President Rouhani stated that the U.S. drone shot down by Iran on 20 June had “intruded Iran’s air space” and was intercepted only “after repeated warnings”. He added that “this region is very sensitive, and the security of the strait linking the Persian Gulf to Oman Sea is very important for many countries; therefore, we expect all international institutions to give a proper response to this intrusive act by the U.S.”. View More 21 June 2019 In a press conference where the IRGC displayed what it claimed was wreckage from the U.S. drone it had shot down the day before, an IRGC commander stated that “along with the American drone was an American P8 aircraft with 35 on board, and it was also violating our airspace and we could have downed it too, but we did not, because our aim was to warn the terrorist forces of the U.S.”. View More 21 June 2019 In a letter to the United Nations Secretary-General, Iran relayed its account of what transpired prior to it shooting down a U.S. drone and decried “another unlawful and yet a very dangerous and provocative act by the U.S. military forces against the territorial integrity of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The letter also underlined that “while the Islamic Republic of Iran does not seek war, it reserves its inherent right … to take all appropriate necessary measures against any hostile act violating its territory, and is determined to vigorously defend its land, sea and air”. View More 21 June 2019 One day after Iran shot down a U.S. drone, President Trump revealed that “we were cocked and loaded to retaliate last night on three different sites when I asked, ‘how many will die?’ “150 people, sir’, was the answer from a General. Ten minutes before the strike I stopped it, not proportionate to shooting down an unmaned drone”. Trump went on to say that “I am in no hurry, our military is rebuilt, new and ready to go, by far the best in the world. Sanctions are biting and more added last night. Iran can never have nuclear weapons, not against the U.S., and now against the world!” View More 20 June 2019 Iran shot down a U.S. drone which it claimed had breached Iranian airspace. IRGC Commander Hossein Salami declared that "borders are our red line, and any enemy violating these borders will not go back". The U.S. military asserted that the aircraft had been "operating in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz", and contended that "this was an unprovoked attack". President Trump suggested that “they made a mistake, and I’m not just talking the country made a mistake. I think that someone under the command of that country made a big mistake…I find it hard to believe it was intentional”. He went on to state that “this is a very fly in the ointment, what happened shooting down the drone. And this country will not stand for it, that I can tell you”. View More 19 June 2019 Referring to the tanker incident in the Gulf of Oman, Secretary of State Pompeo suggested that Iran was “attempting to use these actions to convince the world that the U.S. should release that [economic] pressure… and so that they can get back to the kind of behaviour that they’ve engaged in for 40 years”. He added that “I regret it’s the case that some are blaming the administration for the escalation when we have spent all of our energy … working to create a situation where deterrence was sufficient so this would not escalate and we wouldn’t end up in a war or with kinetic action between our two countries”. Pompeo also indicated that “the task for us is to shape our policy moving forward, to regain deterrence to prevent Iran from denying freedom of navigation in the Persian Gulf”. View More 19 June 2019 A senior U.S. military official remarked that “we’ve taken on an international responsibility of ensuring freedom of navigation and the movement of oil in and out of the Gulf. That doesn’t mean it’s a U.S.-only problem. If we take this on as a U.S.-only responsibility, nations that benefit from that movement of oil through the Persian Gulf are bearing little or no responsibility for the economic benefit they gain from the movement of that oil”. He added that “we are now in a position where the bulk of that oil goes to … countries in Asia, and none of those countries have shown any predilection to pressing Iran to stop what they are doing”. He went on state that “I’m not suggesting for a moment that we don’t have a significant role to play in that space. But it will require an international consensus before force is used with one specific caveat: If the Iranians come after U.S. citizens, U.S. assets or U.S. military, we reserve the right to respond with a military action. They need to know that, it needs to be very clear”. View More 19 June 2019 Iran's Defence Minister, Amir Hatami, dismissed allegations about Iran’s involvement in the 13 June tanker incident in the Gulf of Oman; referring to a video released by CENTCOM, Hatami said “such videos don’t carry any authenticity”. In related remarks, President Rouhani asserted that Iranian military vessels “are present not only in the Oman Sea, but also in other parts and straits to contribute to the freedom of shipping and fighting terrorism”. View More 17 June 2019 President Trump asserted that “I would certainly go [to war] over nuclear weapons”, though he was more equivocal as to whether he’d do the same over the security of oil shipments. He also characterised the 13 June tanker incident in the Gulf of Oman, which U.S. officials described as part of a series of attacks perpetrated by Iran, as “very minor”. View More 17 June 2019 Acting U.S. Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan announced the deployment of “approximately 1,000 additional troops for defensive purposes to address air, naval and ground-based threats in the Middle East”. Shanahan went on to state that “recent Iranian attacks validate the reliable, credible intelligence we have received on hostile behaviour by Iranian forces and their proxy groups that threaten U.S. personnel and interests”. He added that “the U.S. does not seek conflict with Iran”. Earlier, the Pentagon had released new color photos of the 13 June tanker explosions in the Gulf of Oman, reiterating its assessment that Iran was involved in the incident. View More 17 June 2019 After Iran indicated that it was days away from exceeding JCPOA limits on enriched uranium, Prime Minister Netanyahu declared that "should Iran deliver on its current threats, and violate the nuclear deal, the international community will have to implement, immediately, the pre-set sanctions mechanism... in any event, Israel will not allow Iran to get nuclear weaponry". View More 16 June 2019 Secretary of State Pompeo reaffirmed his assessment that the 13 June tanker explosions in the Gulf of Oman "were attacks by the Islamic Republic of Iran on commercial shipping, on freedom of navigation, with the clear intent to deny transit through the strait... we have high confidence with respect to who conducted these attacks as well as half a dozen other attacks throughout the world over the past 40 days". "President Trump has done everything he can to avoid war", Pompeo added. "We don't want war. We've done what we can to deter this. The Iranians should understand very clearly that we will continue to take actions that deter Iran from engaging in this kind of behaviour". He also indicated that "Iran will not get a nuclear weapon. That's the goal. That's the objective of our entire campaign with respect to Iran, and to create stability throughout the Middle East as part of that effort". In a separate interview, Pompeo, asked if there was "legal authorisation for a strike on Iran", replied: "We always have the authorisation to defend American interests. Remember, they now have attacked U.S. aircraft". He also contended that "if we relieve sanctions, their nuclear program presents an even greater risk to the U.S." View More 16 June 2019 In a statement, U.S. Central Command announced that "a U.S. MQ-9 was shot down over Yemen by what we asses[s] to be a Huthi SA-6 surface-to-air missile on June 6, 2019. The altitude of the engagement indicated an improvement over previous Huthi capability, which we asses[s] was enabled by Iranian assistance". On the 13th, CENTCOM went on to indicate, "a modified Iranian SA-7 surface-to-air missile attempted to shoot down a U.S. MQ-9 over the Gulf of Oman to disrupt surveillance of the IRGC attack on the M/T Kokuka Courageous... the SA-7 was ineffective". View More 14 June 2019 Referring to the tanker incident in the Gulf of Oman the previous day, President Trump indicated that "Iran did do it". He went on to remark that "we are being very tough. Yes, we're being very tough on sanctions... they're a nation of terror. And they've changed a lot since I've been president, I can tell you. They were unstoppable and now they are in deep, deep trouble". Asked about the possibility that Iran might attempt to close the Strait of Hormuz, Trump replied: "they're not going to be closing it... if it closes, it's not going to be closed for long. And they know it. And they've been told in very strong terms. And we want to get them back to the table if they want to go back. I'm ready when they are. But whenever they're ready, it's ok". He went on to argue that "they're pulling back from everywhere. They're pulling back out of Syria. They're pulling back out of Yemen. They're pulling back - if you take a look at what's actually happening". "I'm not looking to hurt that country", Trump said. "But they can't have a nuclear weapon". View More 14 June 2019 A day after explosions hit two tankers in the Gulf of Oman, Iran's diplomatic spokesperson insisted that "Iran is responsible for ensuring the security of the Strait of Hormuz, and we showed this by rushing to save the sailors of the incident-hit vessels in the shortest time possible". He added that "pinning the blame on Iran for the suspicious and regrettable incident for the oil tankers seems to be the easiest and most simplistic thing Mr Pompeo and other U.S. statesmen could do". View More 13 June 2019 In remarks following the tanker explosions in the Gulf of Oman earlier in the day, Secretary Pompeo argued that "this is only the latest in a series of attacks instigated by the Islamic Republic of Iran and its surrogates against American and allied interests, and they should be understood in the context of 40 years of unprovoked aggression against freedom-loving nations". Citing a string of events beginning in late April, which Pompeo described as "a clear threat to international peace and security", he went on to contend that "Iran is lashing out because the regime wants our successful maximum pressure campaign lifted", adding that "our policy remains an economic and diplomatic effort to bring Iran back to the negotiating table at the right tome, to encourage a comprehensive deal that addresses the broad range of threats... to peace and security". "Iran should meet diplomacy with diplomacy", Pompeo advised, "not with terror, bloodshed and extortion". View More 13 June 2019 Two tankers in the Gulf of Oman were struck by explosions, resulting in damage to the vessels and the evacuation of their crews. Foreign Minister Javad Zarif weighed in to say that "suspicious doesn't begin to describe what likely transpired this morning", later adding that the "B-Team is sabotaging diplomacy... and covering up economic terrorism by the U.S. against Iran". Secretary of State Pompeo, however, announced that "it is the assessment of the U.S. government that the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attacks", and CENTCOM maintained that hours after the initial explosions an IRGC vessel pulled an "unexploded limpet mine" off one of the tankers [VIDEO]. A military spokesperson emphasised that "the U.S. has no interest in engaging in a new conflict in the Middle East. However, we will defend our interests". View More 8 June 2019 The commander of the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group, whose deployment had been part of the bolstered U.S. military presence following "escalatory indications" purportedly emanating from Iran in early May, stated that "since we've been operating in the region, we've had several interactions with Iranians. To this point all have been safe and professional". In related remarks, CENTCOM's commander contented that, in light of the deployments, the Iranians were "recalculating. They have to take this into account as they think about various actions that they might take. So we think this is having a very good stabilising effect". He added that "I think things are pretty quiet right now". View More 6 June 2019 The head of U.S. Central Command maintained that the bolstering of U.S. forces in the region "caused the Iranians to back up a little bit, but I'm not sure they are strategically backing down". "I hesitate to say that deterrence has been established", he added. "We continue to see possible imminent threats". View More 6 June 2019 In a briefing to the UN Security Council regarding the 12 May tanker incident, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Norway assessed that "the four attacks were part of a sophisticated and coordinated operation carried out by an actor with significant operational capacity, most likely a state actor". The Saudi envoy subsequently asserted that "the responsibility for this action lies on the shoulders of Iran. We have no hesitation in making this statement". View More 2 June 2019 A senior Iranian military official warned that “the first firing [of rockets] in the Persian Gulf will hike up the oil price to more than $100”. He went on to note that “in the Persian Gulf, the whole American and foreign fleets are within the range of IRGC’s coast-to-sea missiles, which can reach to over 300km”. He further supported Foreign Minister Zarif’s proposal regarding a regional non-aggression pact and maintained “my suggestion is to sign the pact with some countries and form a coalition with some others”. View More 1 June 2019 In an interview with a U.S. television station, Foreign Minister Zarif characterised the maximum pressure campaign against Iran as “economic terrorism”. He described the possibility of negotiation with President Trump as “not very likely” and maintained: “He is imposing pressure, this may work in a real estate market, it does not work in dealing with Iran”. Asked to comment on the alleged “cruise missiles being put on small Iranian boats” in the Persian Gulf, Zarif maintained that “we have the right to defend ourselves … these ships are located very close to our waters, we have the right to put whatever missiles we want to put on them”. He concluded his remarks by saying to Trump, “threats against Iran never work. Never threaten an Iranian, try respect. That may work”. View More 30 May 2019 Backing Bolton’s claims that Iran was behind the 12 May Fujairah incident, Secretary Pompeo insisted that “these were efforts by the Iranians to raise the price of crude oil throughout the world”. View More 29 May 2019 In Abu Dhabi, National Security Advisor John Bolton argued that the 12 May Fujairah incident involved “naval mines almost certainly from Iran”, adding that “it’s clear that Iran is behind the Fujairah attack”. Iran’s diplomatic spokesperson hit back at Bolton’s remarks, calling them “ridiculous allegation”. “Mr. Bolton and the other warmongering and bellicose ones must know that the Islamic Republic of Iran … will prevent materialization of their ominous plans for creating chaos in the region”, the spokesperson added. View More 26 May 2019 A senior IRGC official argued that "the Americans have been present in the region since 1833 and they are currently at the weakest state throughout the history of their presence in West Asia, and have the minimum number of warships in the Persian Gulf". View More 25 May 2019 An IRGC advisor remarked that "the enemy will understand what we will do with it in case of the slightest folly in the Persian Gulf waters. The Americans should avoid staging a show with deploying two warships in our region". He went to warn that Iran would sink the U.S. vessels if they "make any mistake or folly" using "two missiles or two new and fully secret weapons that we have". View More 24 May 2019 An IRGC general insisted that "we are today witnessing American soldiers in the Persian Gulf with shivering hands and pale faces standing behind a mountain of equipment living like robots in the face of the will of the progenies of this nation". "Whom are you trying to frighten with sending troops from thousands of miles away", he queried. View More 22 May 2019 A senior IRGC official stressed that “everything north of the Strait of Hormuz is under our control” and maintained that U.S. naval forces “cannot approach the waters that fall without our mare clausum”. In related remarks, a senior Iranian defence official reportedly emphasised Iran’s “integrated missile and radar systems” in delivering “a firm and crushing response” against threats to the country. View More 21 May 2019 Addressing U.S. moves to increase its military assets in the Persian Gulf, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif warned that "having all these military assets in a small waterway is, in and of itself, prone to accident, particularly when you have people who are interested in accidents". "Extreme prudence is required", Zarif added, "and we believe that the U.S. is playing a very, very dangerous game". View More 19 May 2019 U.S. Central Command stated that "Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations commenced enhanced security patrols across the region in international waters May 18", adding that "ships of the GCC - both navies and coast guards - are working in tight coordination with each other and the United States navy". View More 17 May 2019 An IRGC official indicated that "even our short-range missiles can easily reach [U.S.] warships in the Persian Gulf". View More 16 May 2019 U.S. aviation authorities advised "caution when operating in overwater airspace above the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman due to heightened military activities and increased political tensions in the region", warning of "potential for miscalculation or mis-identification" and "GPS interference and other communications jamming". View More 16 May 2019 Tehran's UN envoy stated that "we are not planning for a war. War is not an option for Iran. But at the same time, we have to be prepared for any action against our forces, against the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Iran. Therefore we are vigilant. We are doing everything possible to lower the tension in the region". "Unfortunately", he added, "there are certain people, both in Washington as well as in our region, who are interested to escalate the tension, who are interested to agitate the situation, to provoke. And I believe that it is in everybody's interest to prevent such an eventuality". The ambassador went on to argue that there were "fake allegations, which are being directed to Iran, against Iran, to prepare something like a conflict something like a war". View More 14 May 2019 The Saudi government reported that "two pump stations on the East-West pipeline were attacked by armed drones which caused a fire and minor damage to Pump Station No. 8"; a senior official stressed that "these attacks prove again that it is important for us to face terrorist entities, including the Huthi militias in Yemen that are backed by Iran". A Huthi spokesperson subsequently took responsibility for the action, stating that "this is a message to Saudi Arabia, stop your aggression. Our goal is to respond to the crimes they are committing every day against the Yemeni people". View More 13 May 2019 Discussing the 12 May Fujairah incident, an unnamed U.S. officials speculated that "this is what Iran does... the sort of thing you could see Iran doing". Separate reports relayed an "initial assessment" that "Iranian or Iranian-backed proxies" were culpable for damage to four vessels made by "explosive charges". View More 12 May 2019 The UAE indicated that "four commercial ships were subjected to sabotage operations... near UAE territorial waters in the Gulf of Oman". The Saudi government announced the following day that "two Saudi oil tankers were subjected to a sabotage attack in the exclusive economic zone of the United Arab Emirates, off the coast of the Emirate of Fujairah, while on their way to the Arabian Gulf... it caused significant damage to the structures of the two vessels". Iran's diplomatic spokesperson called the developments "concerning and regrettable". View More 12 May 2019 A senior Iranian naval official contended that "the presence of the Americans in the Persian Gulf region has reached its end and they must leave the region... their presence is just for show, futile and deceitful". In related remarks, a senior IRGC official claimed that "an aircraft carrier... was a serious threat for us in the past, but is now a target and threats have turned into opportunity". He also warned that "if Americans make a [mistaken] move, we will hit them on the head". View More 10 May 2019 The Pentagon announced a green light for "the movement of USS Arlington (LPD-24) and a Patriot battery to U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) as part of the command's original request for forces from earlier this week. These assets will join the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a U.S. Air Force bomber task force in the Middle East region in response to indications of heightened Iranian readiness to conduct offensive operations against U.S forces and our interests". View More 9 May 2019 In an advisory, the U.S Maritime Administration assessed that "since early May, there is an increased possibility that Iran and/or its regional proxies could take action against U.S. and partners interests, including oil production infrastructure, after recently threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz. Iran or its proxies could respond by targeting commercial vessels, including oil tankers, or U.S. military vessels in the Red Sea, Bab al-Mandab Strait or the Persian Gulf". View More 9 May 2019 Discussing the USS Lincoln carrier strike group, whose deployment was cited as part of the U.S.' "clear and unmistakable message" in response to "troubling and escalatory indications and warnings" from Iran, a senior U.S. naval commander indicated that "if I need to bring it inside the strait [of Hormuz], I will do so... I'm not restricted in any way". He added that "I am not in a war-plan footing and have not been tasked to do so. However, we are absolutely ready to respond to any aggression against the U.S., partners in the region or our interests". View More 8 May 2019 CENTCOM commander Kenneth McKenzie asserted that "the long-term, enduring, most significant threat to stability in the Central Command AOR [Area of Responsibility] is Iran... their hegemonic ambitions, their misbehaviour, their threats to us and our partners in the region, have been consistent elements of the regime's policy for many years". He added that "we know that the Iranian regime knows what our military capabilities are, and they have a healthy respect for them... and while they have avoided direct military conflict with the U.S. and our partners, they have demonstrated the willingness and ability to attack our people, our interests and our friends and allies in the confusing, complex zone just short of armed conflict". McKenzie also addressed the U.S. decision to boost military assets in the region following "escalatory indications" from Iran, stating that "we're not seeking a fight with the Iranian regime, but we do have a military force that's designed to be agile, adaptive and prepared to respond to a variety of contingencies in the Middle East and around the world... if a fight is to be had, we'll be fully prepared to respond and defend our interests - and it won't be a fair fight". View More 6 May 2019 Following National Security Advisor John Bolton's announcement on the deployment of additional U.S. military assets as a "clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime", Secretary of State Pompeo stated that "it is absolutely the case that we've seen escalatory action from the Iranians, and it is equally the case that we will hold the Iranians accountable for attacks on American interests". Pompeo added that "the Iranians understand exactly what our view is of the threats that they're posing to U.S. interests around the world". Acting Secretary of Defence Shanahan described the moves as "a prudent repositioning of assets in response to indications of a credible threat by Iranian regime forces", further declaring that "we call on the Iranian regime to cease all provocation. We will hold the Iranian regime accountable for any attack on U.S. forces or our interests". View More 5 May 2019 In a statement, National Security Advisor John Bolton announced that "in response to a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings, the U.S. is deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to the U.S. Central Command region to send a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on U.S. interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force". Bolton added that "the U.S. is not seeking war with the Iranian regime, but we are fully prepared to respond to any attack, whether by proxy, the IRGC or regular Iranian forces". View More 3 May 2019 Foreign Minister Javad Zarif indicated that "we have been very clear that we have no interest in escalation [of tensions with the U.S.]" He went on to assert that "the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz are our lifeline... we want them safe, secure and free for navigation of all countries, including Iran". "Iran won't permit the U.S. to threaten the Persian Gulf", Zarif added. View More 2 May 2019 Bahrain's top diplomat indicated that "we see an opportunity for Tehran to review its policy, which had so far brought it to the bring of the abyss". He also opined that Iranian statements about blocking the Strait of Hormuz constitute "a blunt threat to all Gulf states. I still believe that Iran might think thoroughly before taking such a step because it would be a dangerous escalation that would not be allowed to last for even one day". View More 30 April 2019 Referring to the Strait of Hormuz, Iranian Defence Minister Amir Hatami maintained that "we have the power to protect our vital interests in this strait and make the necessary decisions in a timely manner". He added that in addition to naval capabilities, "we have other powers, including the missile power and several other ones, so that we can make the necessary decisions in due time and perform them strongly". View More 30 April 2019 A senior Iranian diplomat warned that "the two forces [i.e. those of Iran and the U.S.], which have been reciprocally designated as terrorist groups, may engage in clashes in the Persian Gulf or any other region... there is no doubt that the U.S. will be held accountable for such a situation". View More 28 April 2019 Iran's military chief of staff indicated that "as oil and commodities of other countries are passing through the Strait of Hormuz, ours are also moving through it". He further remarked that "we will definitely confront anyone who attempts to destabilise the Strait of Hormuz, and if our crude is not to pass... others' will not pass either". View More 27 April 2019 Iranian media released footage of U.S. naval forces in the Persian Gulf purportedly filmed by IRGC drones. A U.S. military spokesperson subsequently suggested that "the footage the Iranians recently released... appears to be several years old". View More 24 April 2019 Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif indicated that "ships can go through the Strait of Hormuz", adding that "if the U.S. wanted to continue to observe the rules of engagement, the rules of the game, the channels of communication, the prevailing protocols, then in spite of the fact that we consider U.S. presence in the Persian Gulf as inherently destabilising, we're not going to take any action". View More 24 April 2019 Two days after the U.S. decided to end sanctions waivers on Iranian oil, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif predicted that "Iran will continue to sell its oil. We will continue to find buyers for our oil and we will continue to use the Strait of Hormuz as a safe transit passage for the sale of our oil... if the U.S. takes the crazy measure of trying to prevent us from doing that, then it should be prepared for the consequences". He further assessed that senior Israeli and U.S. officials sought "regime change at the very least" and could be "plotting an accident anywhere in the region". Zarif also indicated that "I'm ready... and I have authority" to negotiate a prisoner swap with the U.S. View More 23 April 2019 A U.S. diplomat urged "Iran, and all countries, to respect the free flow of energy and commerce, and freedom of navigation". View More 22 April 2019 The commander of IRGC naval forces warned that "if Iran's benefits in the Strait of Hormuz, which according to international rules is an international waterway, are denied, we will close it". View More 12 April 2019 A senior U.S. naval official indicated that, following the U.S. decision to designate the IRGC as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), "the U.S. Navy has not adjusted its operations and will continue to operate wherever international law allows". View More 9 April 2019 Iran's Expediency Council secretary, who previously served as the IRGC's commander, advised President Trump by tweet to "tell your aircraft carriers to avoid sailing near the IRGC boats". View More 24 March 2019 The U.S. inked a deal with Oman "governing U.S. access to facilities and ports in Salalah and Duqm". A U.S. official explained that "we used to operate on the assumption that we could just steam into the Gulf... [but] the quality and quantity of Iranian weapons raise concerns". The official further noted that "the port [of Duqm] itself is very attractive and the geostrategic location is very attractive... being outside the Strait of Hormuz". View More 22 March 2019 The U.S. special representative for Iran, Brian Hook, noted that "we know historically that Iran has given Hizbollah an average of $700 million a year... we have seen evidence of the impact [of U.S. sanctions] when the leader of Hizbollah makes a public appeal for charity. It speaks for itself. This is the kind of impact that we want". He added that "we know that we have denied the [Iranian] regime even in the short amount of time [since sanctions came into effect] many billions of dollars in revenue", and underscored that the U.S. held "talks with any government where we see sanctions violations or even potential sanctions violations". Hook went on to underscore that "we are... committed to ensuring that troops under Iranian command are out of Syria", and suggested Iran had a "vastly-under reported role in Yemen" despite having "no legitimate interest" in the country. "Giving [Iran] a foothold in Yemen", Hook argued, "allows them to threaten two straits of international commerce". View More 17 March 2019 A senior Iranian defence official revealed that a naval group had been deployed "in order to ensure the security of the Islamic Republic of Iran's shipping lines in the Gulf of Aden and the Strait of Bab al-Mandab". View More 16 March 2019 Iran's oil minister asserted that "we are taking [the necessary] measures to export Iran's oil", while cautioning that should the U.S. "make conditions difficult for the exports, conditions will also become more difficult for the world". View More 14 March 2019 As Iran carried out military exercises in the Persian Gulf, a senior IRGC official commented that "despite the empty and satanic dreams of the U.S. and ill-wishers of the Iranian nation, we witnessed tens of modern and advanced domestic RQ-170s and other types of combat drones in flight during a major drill and unique offensive operation". View More 13 March 2019 One week after Prime Minister Netanyahu indicated that "Iran is trying to bypass the sanctions on it through covert smuggling of petroleum via the sea" and warned that Israel's "navy will have a more important role in efforts to block these Iranian actions", Iran's Defence Minister, Amir Hatami, stated that "if they [i.e Israel] have this intention, the issue will be considered as a measure of international insecurity and banditry". Hatami went on to say that "Iran enjoys the required capability to respond to this issue and if it happens, it will give a crushing response". View More 7 March 2019 An Iranian oil tanker reportedly came under attack by pirates in speedboats; commandos from an Iranian naval patrol intervened to repulse the raid. View More 7 March 2019 In a statement to the House Armed Services Committee, CENTCOM commander Joseph Votel assessed that "Iran exerts its malign influence throughout the region, through its increased - often unprofessional - activities in the Arabian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz, engaging in proxy warfare through its sponsorship of violent extremist organisations (VEOs), and proliferating advanced conventional weapons, including theatre ballistic missiles and weaponised unmanned aerial and maritime systems. Operating in the grey zone of competition below open conflict, Iran conducts unfettered information and cyber campaigns against its adversaries and actively attempts to influence or obstruct the mechanisms of effective governance and domestic politics of several of its sovereign regional neighbours". Looking ahead, Votel anticipated that "Iran will continue to seek to expand its political influence and military presence in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, and to threaten international trade and regional stability throughout the central region". View More 23 February 2019 Iran's Supreme National Security Council Secretary, Ali Shamkhani, indicated that "Iran has designed and put into practice initiatives that would neutralise the illegal U.S. sanctions against Iran's export of oil", while warning that "cutting off [regional] oil exports does not necessarily amount to blocking the Strait of Hormuz. In fact, there are multiple methods to make that happen". View More 22 February 2019 A senior Iranian military official claimed that "the smallest movements along the water borders of the country, especially in the Persian Gulf, are observed with the full authority of the navy, and nothing remains hidden from the sharp eye of the IRGC". View More 21 February 2019 Ahead of a major naval drill, a senior Iranian military official indicated that "missiles with different ranges will be launched from warships and for the first time submarine-launched missiles will also be practiced". He added with respect to the latter that "for the first time these weapons will be tested seriously and we can make the maritime regions unsafe for the enemy in any way possible". View More 17 February 2019 President Rouhani declared that "the power that can defend the country's interests from hundreds of miles away is the navy... the navy is capable of defending not only our coasts in the Persian Gulf, the Oman Sea, the Caspian Sea and the Indian Ocean, but also the interests of the Islamic Republic of Iran with its presence and authority in international waters". He added that "Bandar Abbas and all southern ports of Iran, the Strait of Hormuz and all our territorial waters are witness and proof of Iran's armed force defending free shipping in the region and the flow of energy around the world, which suggests that Iran's power is never a threat to others". View More 13 February 2019 A senior U.S. defence official assessed that the Iranians "have a growing capability in cruise missiles, they have a growing capability in ballistic missiles, they have a growing capability in unmanned surfaced systems, all these things that we watch that are offensive, and destabilising in nature". He also indicated Iranian transfers by sea of "materials, weapons, arms, missiles to surrogates around the region to be able to promulgate their vision of this region with them as the predominant force... we have seen their hand in the Red Sea with unmanned systems - air systems and surface systems - so we've seen them utilise the maritime as a transport for them exporting their version of the region with them in charge". View More 6 February 2019 A senior Iranian defence official indicated that "we did not have any coast-to-sea missiles before the Islamic Revolution; but our missiles have reached a range of 300km today and will even increase in the near future". View More 5 February 2019 In a statement to the Senate Armed Services Committee, CENTCOM commander Joseph Votel noted that "Iran exerts its malign influence throughout the region, through its increased - often unprofessional - activities in the Arabian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz, engaging in proxy warfare through its sponsorship of violent extremist organisations (VEOs) and proliferating advanced conventional weapons, including theatre ballistic missiles and weaponised unmanned aerial and maritime systems. Operating in the grey zone of competition below open conflict, Iran conducts unfettered information and cyber campaigns against its adversaries and actively attempts to influence or obstruct the mechanisms of effective governance and domestic policies of several of its sovereign regional neighbours". Looking ahead, Votel assessed that "Iran will continue to seek to expand its political influence and military presence in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen and to threaten international trade and regional stability throughout the Central Region". View More 30 January 2019 During a visit to Abu Musa island, the IRGC's commander asserted that "our friendly and neighbourly nations and governments have realised that the Islamic Republic of Iran is their genuine brother and companion, and that the security of the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf waters would be ensured only by the regional countries... Iran plays a significant and leading role in establishing such security". View More 29 January 2019 The U.S. intelligence community assessed that Iran "may increase harassment of U.S. and allied warships and merchant vessels in the Persian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz and Gulf of Oman". It added that "unprofessional interactions conducted by the IRGC Navy against U.S. ships in the Persian Gulf... could resume should Iran seek to project an image of strength in response to U.S. pressure". View More 31 December 2018 A senior Iranian defence official indicated that "we are planning to increase the radar-evading capability and agility of the IRGC speed boats", and arming them with "new, very small missiles". View More 31 December 2018 Iran's military chief of staff warned that "Iran's southern neighbours should know that besides its peace-loving doctrine, the Islamic Republic has a powerful and decisive military presence and, if needed, it will defend its territorial integrity and hold the inviting states as responsible for the aftermaths". He added that those countries "should not tie their hopes to America". View More 29 December 2018 Foreign Minister Javad Zarif opined that "the presence of the U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf produced extensive tension rather than being constructive". View More 24 December 2018 Speaking after the passage of the USS Stennis through the Strait of Hormuz and into the Persian Gulf, a senior Iranian defence official argued that "the presence of this [U.S.] fleet is not important for us since it can do nothing against us... we will never let the fleet come near Iran's territorial waters". In related remarks, an IRGC spokesperson assessed that "in the past ten months, due to the absence of an American [aircraft] carrier in the Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman, we witnessed increased security and calmness and reduced incidents in this strategic area". View More 22 December 2018 The IRGC's commander asserted that "it is the Islamic Republic which ensures the security of the region, Strait of Hormuz, the Persian Gulf and friendly countries". He went on to indicate that "from now on, we should be prepared for offence and pursuing enemies". In related remarks, another senior IRGC official indicated that "our core principles and doctrine are defensive but at the operational and tactical levels, it is offensive... when the enemy has an ill-intention against our country we should attack it because our deterrent factor would be the same offense". View More 21 December 2018 The USS Stennis, a U.S. aircraft carrier, sailed through the Strait of Hormuz en route to the Persian Gulf. Media reports indicated that "IRGC vessels shadowed the Stennis and its strike group, at one point launching rockets away from it and flying a drone nearby". However, an Iranian naval official subsequently maintained that "shooting rockets... is a blatant lie". View More 5 December 2018 Commenting on the deployment of a U.S. aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif opined that "the presence of foreign forces in the Persian Gulf undermines regional security. But the Islamic Republic will defend its territorial integrity and national interests with all [its] power". View More 4 December 2018 The U.S. special representative for Iran, Brian Hook, stated that "Iran threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz again. The Islamic Republic of Iran does not control the Strait of Hormuz. The strait is an international waterway. The U.S. will continue to work with our partners to ensure frequent navigation and the free flow of commerce in international waterways". View More 4 December 2018 President Rouhani declared that "we will sell our oil and they [i.e. the U.S.] can't stop us from doing this. If the U.S. wants to stop our oil sales, no oil will be exported from the Persian Gulf". View More 1 December 2018 A senior Iranian military official asserted that the partnership between Iran's regular and IRGC navies had "entered a new season", and opined that "it is this will and spirit which has made us guardians of security in the Persian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman". View More 30 November 2018 A senior Iranian naval official indicated that "53 Iranian naval squadrons comprising warships and destroyers have a constant presence in the Gulf of Aden and Bab al-Mandab". View More 29 November 2018 A senior Iranian naval official remarked that "despite the U.S. sanctions, Iran has safeguarded Hormuz Strait's security all the time and it will never allow anybody to create centres of insecurity and commit acts of mischief in the region". View More 28 November 2018 Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei advised Iranian naval officials to "enhance your abilities and preparations as much as you can so that the enemies of Iran do not even dare to threaten this great nation". "The Islamic Republic does not intend to start a war with anyone", Khamenei noted, "however, you need to strengthen your abilities so much so that not only the enemy will fear attacking Iran, but... the shadow of intimidation and threats will also go away". View More 21 November 2018 A senior IRGC official indicated that "the U.S. bases around us are within our reach and are easy meat for us", citing military facilities in Qatar, Afghanistan and the UAE. "U.S. aircraft carriers", he added, "are like shooting targets for us". View More 19 November 2018 A senior Iranian military official noted that "since the start of the current year, the figures indicate that the Americans and their allies have left the Persian Gulf and they do not have any meaningful presence in the region". "Their presence", he added, "yielded no result but insecurity and gap among regional states". Remaining vessels, he claimed, "are monitored from ground and air and all their words are tapped". View More 13 November 2018 A senior Iranian defence official stated that "we do not believe that the presence of elements from outside the region could ensure the appropriate collective maritime security", adding that "an increase in the geopolitical weight of regional powers... and turning into credible naval powers in the region reveal the onset of a process for replacement of the naval power in the region". View More 12 November 2018 A senior Iranian military official declared that "Iran's armed forces... are prepared today as in the past to protect our fleet of oil tankers against any threats so that it can continue to use marine waterways". View More 3 November 2018 A senior IRGC official opined that "the U.S. economy is not capable of handling a new war. A combat with the Islamic Republic will push the war to outside the region, because the U.S. military structure is worn out and they have been almost driven out of the Persian Gulf". He went on to caution that "U.S. aircraft carriers are within the range of the ballistic missiles with pin-point accuracy that are capable of hitting mobile targets". View More 29 October 2018 A senior Iranian defence official assessed that "the Persian Gulf is the most important and strategic waterway in the world and is among the most vital interests of the country... whoever rules this region, it means that he controls the energy of the world". View More 27 October 2018 U.S. Secretary of Defence James Mattis posited that "we stand against Iran's unsafe, even reckless behaviour in the maritime domain, like the July attacks on international shipping by Iranian-supplied Huthis in the Bab al-Mandab. These behaviours flout freedom of navigation and disrupt maritime security and global trade". View More 18 October 2018 A U.S. military spokesperson remarked that "even with decreased incidents, we remain concerned with the increased number of Iranian UAVs operating in international airspace at night without navigation lights or an active transponder as would be expected according to international norms". View More 9 October 2018 A senior IRGC official asserted that "the IRGC Navy's strategy in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz is based on [a] mighty presence in Iran's territorial waters and the Americans are fully aware of this operational and military power". He also indicated that "the IRGC Navy uses its vessels and drones to fully monitor any move by the U.S. vessels". View More 9 October 2018 A senior IRGC naval official asserted that "if the Persian Gulf gets unsafe for us, it will be unsafe for everyone". View More 30 September 2018 Iranian media broadcast footage of a purported 21 March encounter between U.S. and IRGC naval forces. View More 25 September 2018 Secretary Pompeo asserted that "Iranian vessels harass ships in international waterways based on maritime claims made in defiance of international law...if the Iranian regime thinks the Strait of Hormuz belongs solely to them, you can bet your last rial that the U.S. will never stand for that". View More 25 September 2018 President Rouhani posited that "the security of the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz has always been important for us... we will confront any and all disruptive efforts in this critical waterway in the future". View More 24 September 2018 President Rouhani remarked that "if the U.S. wishes to use force in order to sanction the petroleum industry of Iran, it will certainly see the appropriate response... we do have the power to secure our own waterways and keep our waterways free". "This is not a warning", Rouhani added. "This is a reality. If the Persian Gulf waterway is to remain free and secure, it must remain so for everyone". View More 21 September 2018 Iran kicked off military drills in the Persian Gulf. View More 6 September 2018 The commander of the IRGC's navy opined "that the presence of the U.S. warships in the region not only undermines the security of the regional countries, but also poses environmental problems to the waters". View More 5 September 2018 The IRGC's commander remarked that "Iran's message to the Persian Gulf littoral states is peace and friendship, and the establishment of joint cooperation to ensure security in the Persian Gulf waterway without the presence of foreign forces". He added that "Iran's military power in the region is only meant for defence and deterrence". View More 4 September 2018 President Rouhani declared that "a major part of our oil sales must move from Kharg [Island off Iran's western coast] to Jask [in southern Iran]. View More 29 August 2018 Iran's military chief of staff asserted that "thanks to the IRGC Navy's preparedness and capabilities, the hostile countries are anxious before entering the Strait of Hormuz, as they have obeyed the international [maritime] law over the past year, and if they go beyond the law, they will face the IRGC Navy's counteraction and controlling measures". "The enemies", he added, "should realise that the Persian Gulf is not a proper place for war and clashes". View More 27 August 2018 The head of the IRGC's navy declared that "we defend the Islamic Republic's interests in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz and the enemy cannot trouble us in the region. The Persian Gulf is our home and we can establish security in here with the help of the neighbouring states and there is no need for the presence of foreign states, including the U.S." View More 27 August 2018 The secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, asserted that "Iran does not control the Strait of Hormuz. The Strait is an international waterway. The U.S. will continue to work with our partners to ensure freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce in international waterways". View More 23 August 2018 Alireza Tangsiri was tapped to lead the IRGC's naval forces. View More 10 August 2018 U.S. officials indicated that Iran had tested a Fateh-110 ballistic missile during naval drills in the Strait of Hormuz. View More 8 August 2018 The commander of U.S. Central Command, Joseph Votel, confirmed that "so far this calendar year, we have not seen any incidents [with Iran] that we would characterise as unsafe or unprofessional... I'm glad that that's the case; I would encourage them to continue to do that". He added that in the Strait of Hormuz, "Iran has a layer of capabilities... but I would just suggest we have capabilities as well". On recent Iranian naval drills, Votel asserted that "the scope and scale of the exercise we saw was similar to what we've seen with other exercises that they've done in this region... I think it's pretty clear to us that they were trying to use that exercise to send a message to us that as we approach this period of the sanctions here, that they have some capabilities". View More 6 August 2018 A senior Iranian military official declared that "Iran is the guarantor of the security of the Persian Gulf region and the Strait of Hormuz and no one else is allowed to talk about the security of this region apart from us". View More 5 August 2018 The IRGC confirmed that it had carried out naval drills, saying that "the exercise was conducted with the aim of controlling and safeguarding the international waterway, within the framework of the IRGC's annual calendar exercises program". The IRGC's commander further "emphasised the need to maintain and enhance all-faceted defence readiness in order to secure the strategic waterway of the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz and to proportionately counter potential threats and adventurism by the enemies". View More 2 August 2018 Iran's foreign minister, Javad Zarif, posited on Twitter that the "U.S. Navy can't seem to find its way around our waters. Perhaps because it hasn't figured out its name: Persian Gulf... or maybe it doesn't know what it's doing in our backyard, seven thousand miles from home". View More 2 August 2018 U.S. officials assessed that Iran had launched a naval drill involving "possibly more than 100 vessels".