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Iran will secure Strait of Hormuz, won’t allow any shipping disturbance

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Abbas Araqchi says the Islamic Republic will strive to ensure security of the Strait of Hormuz, and will not allow any disturbance in shipping in the strategic sea passage between the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman.

During a meeting with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in Paris on Tuesday, the Iranian diplomat reiterated his country’s resolve concerning the issue.

Le Drian, for his part, said Iran has to take the necessary steps to ensure a de-escalation process in the Persian Gulf.

Araqchi’s remarks came a day after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani underlined Iran’s historical role as a preserver of maritime security in the region, saying the country has no interest in initiating tensions either here or beyond.

“Over the course of history, Iran has been and will continue to be the most principal preserver of security and shipping freedom in the Persian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, and Sea of Oman,” Rouhani said during a meeting with a ranking Iraqi delegation headed by Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi in Tehran on Monday.

The Islamic Republic, he added, would never act as the party to start any warfare or tension with other countries.

Also on Tuesday, Araqchi and French President Emmanuel Macron stressed the need for diplomacy in order to establish peace worldwide.

The Iranian deputy foreign minister delivered a written message from Rouhani to his French counterpart, whose country is a signatory to the 2015 multilateral nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The two sides exchanged viewpoints on several issues of mutual interest, including regional and international developments and the ways to reduce tensions in the Middle East.

They also emphasized that the JCPOA must be safeguarded as an international, multilateral agreement and one of the most outstanding diplomatic achievements in present history.

Tensions have been running high between Tehran and Washington since last year, when US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from the nuclear deal, and unleashed the “toughest ever” sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

The European parties to the JCPOA have since been trying to convince Iran to remain in the pact by promising to shield its economic interests from US sanctions.

In May, a year after the US’s exit, Tehran began reducing its commitments under the JCPOA on a stage-by-stage basis in response to Washington’s pullout and the ensuing European failure to make up for America’s absence.

Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), said on July 15 that Tehran’s decision to reduce its commitments to the 2015 nuclear pact was not made out of stubbornness, but rather it aims to give a chance to diplomacy.