Europe discusses Hormuz mission; Iran expresses readiness for negotiations not surrender

Mohammed El-Said
5 Min Read

Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani, said on Wednesday that his country is ready for fair negotiations if these negotiations do not mean surrender. He did not clarify which talks and with which party it would be held. 

Rouhani is believed to be referring to possible negotiations with the United States. 

“As long as I have the responsibility for the executive duties of the country, we are completely ready for just, legal, and honest negotiations to solve the problems,” Rouhani said.

“The Strait of Hormuz enjoys a highly important situation and it is neither a place for joking nor ignorance of the international rules by a country which wants to make an entry into the Strait from the exit point and ignores the warnings of the IRCG which is responsible for the security of the Strait of Hormuz,” Rouhani said. 

He added that “Iran and the neighbouring states are mainly responsible for the protection of the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf and it’s no way related to others, and the Iranian nation has always been the Persian Gulf’s guardian.”

Tensions between Washington and Tehran are at a high point over Iran’s nuclear programme, with the US increasing sanctions in the past year since US President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal.

About two months ago, the Trump administration designated Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist group.  

Meanwhile, French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, said on Tuesday that his country is working with other European countries to safeguard the maritime security in the Strait of Hormuz. But he noted that this does not mean supporting the British call for forming a European force to secure the Strait of Hormuz.

Le Drian added that France is working with Germany and the UK to create a European initiative to secure the maritime navigation in the Gulf.

On Tuesday, Italy, Denmark, the Netherlands, and France announced that they are backing the British proposal for a European naval force to protect the Strait of Hormuz after Iran seized a British-flagged tanker in the strait.

On Wednesday, a spokesperson of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Berlin is holding talks with the UK and France regarding the British proposal, but it is too early to talk about the German participation in this mission. 

Responding to the European manoeuvres, Iranian First Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri said that his country’s armed forces are “guarantors of security in the Persian Gulf region” stressing that “Tehran will not bow to the big powers’ pressures and bullying.”

Jahangiri added that forming an international alliance to ensure security in the Gulf region will bring insecurity to the region instead. 

Relations between London and Tehran have been strained since British authorities detained an Iranian tanker earlier in July close to the coast of Gibraltar. London said that the Iranian tanker was shipping oil to Syria in breach of EU sanctions.

As a response, IRGC seized a British-flagged Swedish-owned oil tanker in the Gulf, for allegedly violating International Laws. In a statement, the IRGC said that the British oil tanker “Stena Impero” has been captured “because of violating the international maritime regulations when crossing the Strait of Hormuz.”

On Wednesday, the head of Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s office Mohammad Mohammadi-Golpayegani, said that the UK government “has sent a mediator to Iran to discuss ways to free a British-flagged tanker seized by Iran last week.” 

Mohammadi-Golpayegani added: “A country that at one time appointed ministers and parliament members in Iran has reached a point where they send a mediator and plead for their ship to be freed.”

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Mohammed El-Said is the Science Editor for the Daily News Egypt with over 8 years of experience as a journalist. His work appeared in the Science Magazine, Nature Middle East, Scientific American Arabic Edition, SciDev and other regional and international media outlets. El-Said graduated with a bachelor's degree and MSc in Human Geography, and he is a PhD candidate in Human Geography at Cairo University. He also had a diploma in media translation from the American University in Cairo.