| 21 February 2024, Wednesday |

Iran warns against proposed US-backed task force to protect shipping in Red Sea

A planned multinational task force supported by the US to safeguard ships in the Red Sea will encounter “extraordinary problems,” according to a warning issued by Iran’s Defense Minister Mohammad Reza Ashtiani, according to official Iranian media on Thursday.

Ashtiani’s remarks coincided with the announcement last week by the US that it was in discussions with other nations to form a task force in response to a wave of attacks on ships in the Red Sea by the Houthis, who are supported by Iran in Yemen.

“They will face extraordinary problems if they make such an irrational move,” Ashtiani said in remarks that were reported on Thursday by the official Iranian Student News Agency (ISNA).

“Nobody can make a move in a region where we have predominance,” he said, referring to the Red Sea.

Ashtiani did not specify what measures Iran was prepared to take in response to the setting up of a US-backed Red Sea task force.

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters last week that Washington was in talks with “other countries” over forming a “maritime task force … to ensure safe passage of ships in the Red Sea,” but did not give further details.

Yemen’s Houthis, which are aligned with Iran, have waded into the Israel-Hamas conflict by attacking vessels in vital shipping lanes and firing drones and missiles at Israel more than 1,000 miles from their seat of power in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa.

  • alarabiya