Iran to Propose Multilateral Gulf Security Initiative

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Source: Kremlin

Iran’s President will unveil a proposal for a multilateral Gulf Security initiative at the U.N. General Assembly this week.

The Iranian presidential website quoted President Hassan Rouhani as saying, “This year we will present a plan to the world at the United Nations that the Islamic Republic of Iran in cooperation with the countries of the region can create security for the Persian Gulf and the Oman sea with the help of the countries of the region.”

President Rouhani will arrive this week to address the annual meeting at the U.N. in New York. Ahead of his departure for the trip, Iran released a British-flagged tanker which was seized two months ago in a retaliatory move after the U.K. seized an Iranian tanker destined for Syria.

Speaking to Iranian officials on Monday, President Rouhani expanded on the proposal, saying, “This plan is about collective work within the Persian Gulf region, and we want all countries of the region to partake in it. Of course, the plan that will be laid out at the United Nations won’t be just about security, but rather economy and other issues, all in line with security matters.”

The proposal — dubbed the “Coalition of Hope” — includes the states of the Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman area, but would exclude extra-regional countries, such as the U.S., which is a close partner of many of the region’s states.  Over the weekend, President Rouhani said, “The security of the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz, and the Sea of Oman is indigenous. Foreign forces could cause problems and insecurity for our nation and region.”

It is likely that the proposal will be rejected by the other Gulf countries.

Earlier this month, a pair of Saudi oil facilities was hit by what the kingdom believes was an Iranian-sponsored attack that, according to the U.S., may have originated from Iran itself. Tehran has rejected accusations that it was behind the strikes, and a sympathetic rebel group in Yemen, Ansar Allah, claimed responsibility for the attacks, which involved both drones and cruise missiles.

In response to the attacks, the U.S. has announced further sanctions on Iran, targeting its central bank and National Development Fund. Further American forces will deploy to the Gulf region to bolster defense against missile and aircraft threats. The U.S. is considering additional measures against Iran – including possible military action – and Washington can be expected to seek to drum up international support at the U.N. General Assembly meeting.

About Derek Bisaccio

Military markets analyst, covering Eurasia, Middle East, and Africa.

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