11 August 2019 - 12:06
News ID: 446501
A
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says any military presence in the Persian Gulf from outside the region would be a “source of insecurity” for Iran, and Tehran would act to safeguard its security.

RNA - This comes as Washington is lobbying international partners to join a so-called maritime security coalition at a time of heightened tensions with Iran. Tehran has also warned against any presence of its arch-foe Israel in the planned coalition.

“The Persian Gulf is a vital lifeline and thus nat’l security priority for Iran, which has long ensured maritime security. Mindful of this reality, any extra-regional presence is by definition (a) source of insecurity ... Iran won’t hesitate to safeguard its security.”

At any rate, there are many reasons as to why Iran says the responsibility of securing these waters lies with Tehran and other regional - and not trans-regional - countries.

The Law of the Sea Treaty says activities pursuant to self-defense are consistent with the United Nations’ 1982 Convention. It is within the framework of this particular Convention that Iran as a signatory underlines that the US navy has no sovereignty right and to have a role in the management and control of maritime trafficking in the Persian Gulf.

Yet, few UN member states have remained adamant to ratifying the Convention, notably the United States which has signed, but not ratified it. This disrespect for the approvals of the international community could well be interpreted in line with the US expansionist and exceptionalism. That says why the United States continues to challenge, and even threaten with sanctions, Iran’s territorial rights in the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman.

This is while on several occasions, the armed forces of the United States (not a Coastal State) have conducted operations in the Persian Gulf in collaboration with Arab littoral states. Throughout the years, US forces, using numerous naval bases in the region, have also been performing "Freedom of Navigation" operations in the Strait of Hormuz with little respect to the Law of the Sea Treaty.

Under 1982 Convention and Freedom of Navigation, however, Iran as the largest Coastal State that has a 2,000-km coastline on the Northern rims of the Persian Gulf (several times longer than any other littoral state) whose borders stretch several miles deep into the Strait of Hormuz is allowed to:

1- Exercise sovereignty over its territorial waters

2- Stage naval drills for self-defense and security

3- Regulate navigational and other aspects of passage through the Strait of Hormuz

4- Establish sea lanes and air routes 

5- Have sovereign rights in a 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone with respect to natural resources and certain economic activities, and exercise jurisdiction over marine science, research, and environmental protection

6- Have freedom of navigation, transit, and overflight

7- Prevent and control insecurity under international obligations

It is within the boundaries of this Convention that Iran as a signatory continues to stage naval drills in the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman. It is also within the framework of the same Convention that the Iranian Leader says “Tehran will continue its military drills,” since sea power of both the hard, naval kind and the softer kind that involves trade, is as vital as ever for national security.

According to Fars News Agancy, there is little doubt that Iran’s naval drills also adhere to International Maritime Law by helping to reinforce regional security and peace. Meaning, America is not right to be worried about Iran becoming a regional maritime power. What makes Iran’s rise as a sea power troubling for the Arab littoral states that rely on America to maintain their own order are in fact its independent policies and security programs, as well as where it lies.

Indeed, there is nothing wrong with Iran regarding a powerful navy as essential to its security, prestige and self-image, particularly if it eventually also uses it to reinforce regional order. It is the United States that should explain the legal basis for why it sees itself entitled to any right to call for the formation of a coalition.

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