ISLAMABAD: During a visit to Pakistan, Iran’s Navy Commander Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi has said that the two neighbors — which share both land and sea borders — are seeking to enhance naval cooperation.
In an exclusive interview with IRNA news agency in Islamabad on Tuesday, Khanzadi said he had traveled to Pakistan upon an official invitation, which followed a trip by Chief of Pakistani Naval Staff Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi to Tehran in April for the 6th Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) Conclave of Chiefs (CoC).
“Our main approach is to broaden cooperation between Iran and Pakistan at sea and we are pursuing it seriously in various operational, technical and educational areas besides information exchanges,” he added.
The commander also noted that the Pakistani side had invited Iran’s Navy to take part in an international drill in Amman scheduled for the next few months.
Chief of The Naval Staff Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi visited Iran to attend 6th Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) Conclave of Chiefs (CoC) 2018 held in Tehran, from 22-25 Apr 18. See More…https://t.co/rHMRKtrFph pic.twitter.com/tsALdPexbo
— Pakistan Navy (@PakistanNavy) April 25, 2018
He further hailed his talks with Pakistani officials as “important and constructive,” saying the two sides had also discussed using the capacities of Chabahar and Gwadar ports.
‘Iran’s security cannot be challenged’
Elsewhere in his remarks, Khanzadi stressed that no country is able to make a dent in Iran’s security, which he described as a “domestic achievement.”
“Such robust security alongside our neighboring states, including our eastern neighbor Pakistan, can certainly provide good synergy and convergence needed to achieve collective security, especially at sea,” he said.
He also blasted certain Western countries and arrogant powers for setting up “theatrical coalitions” under the pretext of ensuring security in the Strait of Hormuz, saying such alliances are actually meant to consolidate the West’s “illegitimate presence” in the region and would only bring about insecurity.
Those outsiders not only failed to form such alliances, but are also gradually withdrawing from the region, he added.
“I spoke with my Pakistani counterpart in this regard and said that the region needs no foreign forces,” Khanzadi said. “The Pakistani side shares Iran’s position.”
The commander further underlined the need for regional countries’ “coordination and cooperation” to safeguard the region.
Regional tensions have intensified after attacks earlier this year on oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf, and a strike on Saudi oil facilities. The United States has blamed Iran for the incidents. Iran has denied the allegations, saying it attaches high significance to the security of the strategic region.
The United States has been trying to persuade its allies into joining an international coalition with the declared aim of providing “security” for merchant shipping in the Strait of Hormuz — through which about a fifth of all oil consumed globally passes — and other strategic Middle Eastern shipping lanes.
Meanwhile, France has separately pushed for a European security alternative in the Strait of Hormuz.