Iraq’s FM accuses Western forces of fueling Gulf regional tension

Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohamed Alhakim attends a meeting with his Egyptian and Jordanian counterparts at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Baghdad Iraq

Iran warns of war if 'Zionists' enter the Persian Gulf

The presence of Western forces in the Gulf is fuelling regional tension, Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Hakim said on Monday. About 20 percent of the world's oil passes through that area.

On Friday, Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi warned that the country considers possible Israeli presence in a US-led coalition in the Persian Gulf as a clear threat to its national security, and reserves the right to counter it.

Washington claims Tehran has played a role in two separate attacks on oil tankers in the Sea of Oman in May and June, without providing any credible evidence to support the accusations.

He added that "Iraq will work to lower tensions in our region through calm negotiations", while "the presence of Western forces in the region would raise tensions".

Al-Hakim stressed that Israel's participation in such a mission was unacceptable, AP said.

Later on the same day, US President Donald Trump said he had called off a retaliatory attack on a number of targets in Iran and said that he was ready to speak with Iranian leaders and come to an understanding that would allow the country to improve its economic prospects.

If the coalition is formed, each country would provide a military escort for its commercial ships through the Gulf with the support of the U.S. military, which would carry out aerial surveillance and command operations.

Some major countries, including Germany, Spain, and Japan, have said they will not participate in the US-led naval mission in the Strait of Hormuz.

Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami said on Thursday said that "Operation Sentinel" would "increase insecurity" in the region, and that Israel's involvement would have "disastrous consequences".

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