Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has accused the US of encouraging smuggling by sea in the Gulf region, in the latest sign of rising tensions between Tehran and Washington.
“Today, the Americans are targeting oil tankers while helping the maritime smuggling networks in our region,” said Khamenei on state television yesterday, Bloomberg News has reported. “This is a major violation on their part.”
Media reports said on 3 August that the US might seek to station military personnel on board civilian vessels passing through the Strait of Hormuz in a bid to counter “Iranian aggression”.
The state-run Nour News agency in Iran responded by saying that the US “cannot use maritime protection as an excuse to expand its military presence in the Gulf.”