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Saturday, July 20, 2024

Iran signals warnings to US over Red Sea suggestions

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan had mentioned last week that talks were underway with "other countries" to create a "maritime task force... to ensure safe passage of ships in the Red Sea," providing no further details.

Iran signals warnings to US over Red Sea suggestions

Iran’s Defense Minister Mohammad Reza Ashtiani has cautioned that a proposed multinational task force, backed by the United States, aimed at safeguarding shipping in the Red Sea would encounter significant challenges. Ashtiani’s remarks followed the announcement from the US last week about discussions with other nations to establish a task force in response to attacks by the Iran-aligned Houthis in Yemen on ships in the Red Sea, as reported by Iranian state media on Thursday.

“If they proceed with such an irrational move, they will encounter extraordinary problems,” Ashtiani stated to the official Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA). He emphasized Iran’s dominance in the Red Sea region, asserting, “Nobody can make a move in a region where we have predominance.”

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan had mentioned last week that talks were underway with “other countries” to create a “maritime task force… to ensure safe passage of ships in the Red Sea,” providing no further details. The proposed 12-nation coalition task force, led by the US and involving warships from the US, France, the United Kingdom, and Israel, aims to bolster security and potentially target sites within Yemen, including launch sites, command facilities, and missile storage sites.

Gaza conflict has intensified the stakes

The Red Sea has witnessed increased attacks on international shipping, particularly following Israel’s response to the Hamas offensive in Gaza on October 7. The Houthis have targeted vessels passing through the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, a critical choke point for oil shipments. The US and French navies have already increased their presence in the Red Sea to protect vessels from potential seizure or attacks by the Houthis.

More to read: Israel cannot win – Jordan

The conflict in Gaza has impacted multiple segments in the region, and induced a new surge in the activities of different groups. The claim of groups like Houthis and Hezbollah has been to force Israel into a ceasefire. The upcoming days are deemed to be very important in the prospect that where the war is heading.