Foto: Jørn Rune Buljo / NUPI

Mr. Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran's Minister of Foreign Affairs, during his visit to NUPI.

NUPI Podcast: Iran can prevent ship attacks, but has no incentive to do so, says Iran FM

Published: 29 Aug 2019

“Sending naval vessels to the Persian Gulf, with the clear aim of confronting Iran, will not bring security,” Mr. Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, told NUPI audience.

“If you want security in the Persian Gulf, it has to be security for everyone,” Zarif continued.

Iran’s FM visited NUPI on August 22 to discuss the risk of war and the future of the Persian Gulf with NUPI Director Ulf Sverdrup.

Zarif urged Europe to stand up to the US and resume trade with Iran, despite American pressure. According to the FM, the American “maximum pressure” strategy will not work on Iran:

“Putting pressure on Iran usually backfires. Iranians are allergic to threats and pressure. Iranians respond very well to kindness, to respect, but they respond very badly to pressure and threats.”

Listen to the entire conversation with FM Zarif, including Q&A, here:

After the summer’s attacks on ships and heightened tensions in the Persian Gulf, the US has asked a number of allied countries – including Norway – for military assistance to secure freedom of navigation in the strategic waters. During the conversation with Sverdrup, Zarif strongly advised against foreign military presence in the Persian Gulf:

“There is no need for a lot of military ships. You can have security in the Persian Gulf through cooperation, through inclusion – not through exclusion.”

On the contrary, foreign naval vessels, and consequently more crowded waters, will make the situation more dangerous for commercial shipping, according to Zarif.

“Iran can, in fact, prevent these attacks, but we have no incentive to do so” the Iranian FM told the seminar attendees. “That doesn’t mean that Iran is behind the attacks. It’s simply enough for Iran not to do what it does on a daily basis to provide your ships with security, and you see what happens in the Persian Gulf.”