The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps naval commander Admiral Alireza Tangsiri said Iran controls the Strait of Hormuz and that the Persian Gulf belongs to them
“We have the right to question any vessels entering the Straits of Hormuz and Iranian territorial waters,” the Iranian commander said, The Jerusalem Post reported Monday.
“The IRGC navy controls and monitors the foreign vessels which enter the Persian Gulf and questions them about their nationality, type of vessel and their destination,” Tangsiri added.
These statements come as Iran has attempted to rapidly expanded its military influence in the region, going so far as to join Russia and China in a war games simulation as a “message to the world,”
The joint war games are a “message to the world,” Iranian navy commander Rear Adm. Hossein Khanzadi said in a statement on Dec. 4.
“[W]hen we talk about joint wargames, we are talking about two or more countries with a high level of relations in various political, economic and social fields, which culminate in cooperation in the military sector, with wargames usually being the highest level of such cooperation,” Khanzadi said.
“[T]he joint war game between Iran, Russia and China, which will hopefully be conducted next month, carries the same message to the world, that these three countries have reached a meaningful strategic point in their relations,” he added.
In order to prevent Iran from having the means to develop nuclear weapons, the United States imposed crippling sanctions on the nation after it backed out of the Iranian nuclear deal, which cut a significant source of government income.
Khanzadi said the crippling sanctions imposed on the nation by the United States were “bullying tactics” used to “sanction another country’s oil by restricting its passage through international waters.”
On top of saying the games could extend Iran’s commercial reach, Khanzadi claimed that his fleet could reach the Gulf of Mexico or the Gulf of Finland.
“The purpose of the war game is to ensure collective security and help strengthen security in the northern region of the Indian Ocean, which is witnessing incidents such as piracy,” Khanzadi reportedly also said on Saturday.
“The war game seeks to deliver this message to the world that any kind of security at sea must include the interests of all concerned countries,” he said. “We do not condone the kind of security that only caters to the benefits of one specific country at a specific time and which disregards the security of others.”
“Seas, which are used as a platform for conducting global commerce, cannot be exclusively beneficial to certain powers,” Khanzadi added.
Iran has been accused several times of conducting aggressive acts, including developing nuclear weapons and bombing a Saudi Arabian oil field.
On Sept. 9, Israeli officials accused Iran of developing a nuclear weapon, releasing photos of the apparent weapons facility.
“Israel has exposed another Iranian violation of their international commitments: the Abadeh Nuclear Weapons Development Site,” Israeli embassy spokesman Elad Strohmayer wrote on Twitter. “We have proof #Iran conducted experiments to develop nuclear weapons there, and that they destroyed the site when they realized we discovered it.”
On Sept. 14, a coordinated strike using cruise missiles and drones targeted key Saudi Arabian facilities, destroying half of the country’s oil capacity. U.S. and Saudi investigators determined with a high degree of certainty that Iran conducted the strike.