Iran Vows to Secure Strait of Hormuz, Urges Diplomacy

Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi. REUTERS./

DUBAI, July 23 (Reuters) Iran will secure the Strait of Hormuz and not allow any disturbance in shipping in the key oil transport waterway, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said on Tuesday during a visit to Paris, the state new agency IRNA reported.

France, Italy, the Netherlands and Denmark support a European-led naval mission to ensure safe shipping through the Strait of Hormuz, three senior EU diplomats said on Tuesday, after Britain proposed the idea following Iran‘s seizure of a British-flagged oil tanker.

Iran will use its best efforts to secure the region, particularly the Strait of Hormuz, and will not allow any disturbance in shipping in this sensitive area,” Araqchi told French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, IRNA reported.

Araqchi later met French President Emmanuel Macron and delivered a message to him from President Hassan Rouhani, IRNA said.

“They (Macron and Araqchi) both emphasised using diplomacy to bring peace to the world,” IRNA added.

FILE PHOTO: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani shakes hands with French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, in Tehran, Iran, March 5, 2018. REUTERS

Le Drian said earlier that France was working with European capitals to improve maritime security in the Gulf but stopped short of backing Britain’s call for a naval mission to ensure safe shipping in the region.

Almost a fifth of the oil consumed globally passes through the Strait of Hormuz.

Washington proposed on July 9 stepping up efforts to safeguard strategic waters off Iran and Yemen where it blames Iran and its proxies for recent tanker attacks. Iran denies the charges.

“This is the opposite of the American initiative which is about maximum pressure to make Iran go back on a certain number of objectives,” Le Drian said.

(Reporting by Dubai newsroom Editing by Tom Brown)