The Commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards’ Navy says the Persian Gulf belongs to regional countries and the presence of other countries' militaries there is illegitimate.

During his visit to Iranian islands in the southern waters of the country on Friday, Commodore Alireza Tangsiri said: “Establishing security in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz is done with the synergy and convergence of the countries of this region, and there is no need for the illegitimate presence of extra-regional countries."

He did not explicitly mention any country, but the presence of US and Israeli forces has been a thorn in the eye of the Islamic Republic.

His remarks came a few days after US and UK navies acted when a merchant ship was being harassed by IRGC’s fast-attack boats in the Strait of Hormuz. Over the past two years, Iran has now harassed, attacked or interfered with the navigational rights of 16 internationally flagged merchant vessels in regional waters.

The recent incident in the Strait of Hormuz took place against the backdrop of reports about the formation of a new naval alliance in the region with Iran being a main force. The US says it “defies reason” for Iran to be part of a regional naval alliance while the Islamic Republic is the main reason for maritime insecurity in the Persian Gulf region.

Iranian media claimed in recent days that a regional naval coalition is in the offing though this was not confirmed by any mentioned parties. Iran's navy commander officially announced that his country and Saudi Arabia, as well as the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain, plan to form a naval alliance, that would include Iraq, India and Pakistan.

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