Russia believes West is artificially stirring up tensions in Persian Gulf: Lavrov

TEHRAN, Dec. 30 (MNA) – In a meeting with his Iranian counterpart Zarif, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the West is artificially fuelling tensions in the Persian Gulf.

In May, the US sent its aircraft carrier strike group to the Middle East citing an unspecified Iranian “threat” to US interests in the region. Since then, the Persian Gulf has seen a string of dangerous incidents, including tanker sabotage attacks, ship seizures and drone shootdowns.

Moscow is concerned over increasing tensions in the Persian Gulf, and it sees attempts to stoke these tensions, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday.

“We see some of our Western colleagues artificially trying to inflame the situation. And Russia and Iran oppose such attempts with a proposal to establish equal, mutually beneficial cooperation in this important region," Lavrov said at a meeting with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif.

The statement comes after the Pentagon said on Sunday that the US military conducted a spate of strikes targeting five Kata'ib Hezbollah facilities in Syria and Iraq.

Earlier this year, Lavrov stated that Russia calls for a solution to tensions in the Persian Gulf through dialogue and without unfounded accusations.

“Our contribution is the revised Russian concept of collective security in the region presented this summer”, Lavrov said in an address to the UN General Assembly.

In late July, the Russia Foreign Ministry unveiled, amid heightened US-Iran tensions, an updated version of an initiative called Collective Security Concept for the Persian Gulf Region, which proposed the “renouncement of permanent deployment of troops of extra-regional states” in the region.

The concept further promotes multilateralism as the core of a new security system in the region, with Moscow suggesting that a security organization be created that would include Russia, the United States, China, India, the European Union and other interested parties.

Lavrov , for his part, noted that Moscow hopes that the countries of the Middle East will take a closer look at Russia's plan to ensure security in the Gulf region in the wake of a drone attack on critical Saudi oil infrastructure late last week.

On 14 September, a drone attack on Saudi Aramco's oil processing facilities forced the Saudi national oil and gas giant to shut them down, halving the country's oil production. Although responsibility for the attack was claimed by Houthi rebels, the US and Saudi Arabia pointed the finger at Iran, which refuted all the accusations.

MNA/SPUTNIK

News Code 153878

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