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Iran Says U.S. Coalition To Protect Shipping 'Will Increase Insecurity'

File photo - Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami

As a U.S. coalition to protect shipping in the Persian Gulf takes shape, Iran’s defense minister warned on Thursday that a U.S.-led armada would “increase insecurity in the region."

"The military coalition that America is seeking to form with the excuse of securing maritime transport will only increase insecurity in the region," Defense Minister Amir Hatami said in a conference call with counterparts from Kuwait, Oman and Qatar.

As tensions between Washington and Tehran increased since early May, Iran detained tankers and is suspected of attacking several oil tankers just outside the Persian Gulf. The U.S. responded with an initiative to form an international coalition to protect commercial vessels.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz told Y-Net news August 7 that it is ready to cooperate with the United States in the project.

Hatami also reacted to the Israeli announcement saying it would be “highly provocative and can have disastrous consequences for the region”.

Meanwhile, the U.S. maritime agency MARAD asked U.S.-flagged commercial ships August 7 to send transit plans in advance to American and British naval authorities before they sail in Persian Gulf waters.

With reporting by AFP, Reuters