Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) warned Saudi naval vessels taking part in military exercises in the Gulf on Wednesday not to get close to Iranian waters, in a sign of heightened tensions between the two regional rivals.
Saudi Arabia began naval war games including live fire exercises on Tuesday in the Gulf and Strait of Hormuz, the world’s most important oil route.
“We declare to all the vessels present in Saudi Arabia’s war games, including the Saudi navy’s vessels and others, that the IRGC Navy believes that principally, these drills are a clear instance of stirring tensions and weakening sustainable security in the Persian Gulf,” the IRGC said in a statement published on Tasnim news agency.
Stressing that passage of the military vessels participating in the war games through Iran’s territorial waters will not be allowed at all; they also warned the Saudis to avoid sailing through the international waters near the Iran.
“The IRGC Navy and the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Army are fully prepared to maintain sustainable security in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz and will properly and rapidly confront any move, attempt and measure to disturb tranquility and security in the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman,” the statement added.
The comments came a week after the Saudi navy said it plans to stage drills in the Arabian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz in the near future.
Tehran and Riyadh are fighting several proxy wars in the Middle East, including in Syria and Yemen, but both have been cautious about direct military confrontation.
Naval games reflect Saudi’s nervousness
Saudi Arabia’s war games in the Arabian Gulf are indicative of “uncertainty, nervousness and lack of direction” on the part of the Saudi royal family, commented an Iranian author and political commentator.
“I believe that the Saudi regime has been erratic … Internally the kingdom is going through tough times. We know that there are salary cuts and we know that they have failed in Syria and they have failed in different places where they tried to impact the events in the region,” Naseer al-Omari told Press TV.
He went on to say the military aggression against Yemen was a “horrendous decision” and a “bad calculation,” adding that the Saudis are going nowhere in this war and their own borders in the south are threatened as a result of the intervention. Iran
Omari further stated that the Saudis are under a lot of pressure from the US over the September 11, 2001 attacks and it is not surprising that they take it out on their neighbors as they have done repeatedly.
He also noted the Saudi regime is facing serious internal problems and is trying to “export” them.
“The Saudi people have disagreement with the Saudi royal family … The Saudi people feel like the economy is weak, they do not have any sense of certainty about their personal finances and they feel like the royal family is taking them into all these wars that are not going anywhere and they had no reason to go into Yemen,” he said.