29 Apr 2020 19:16

Moscow urges Tehran to exercise restraint in response to U.S. provocative acts in Gulf area

MOSCOW. April 29 (Interfax) - Moscow has called on Tehran not to fall for what it sees as provocative actions by the United States in the Persian Gulf area and to continue acting in line with international law.

"We call for displaying maximum restraint and caution, not falling for provocations and aggressive rhetoric, and definitely acting strictly within the framework of relevant international norms and rules," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said at a press briefing on Wednesday.

Moscow "understands Tehran's harsh criticism of American military," who, "as has been said, conducted provocative dangerous maneuvers near the Iranian coast in the Persian Gulf on April 15," she said.

"We would like to stress that Moscow has always seen stability and security in the Persian Gulf area as a key factor affecting the situation in a broader regional context," Zakharova said.

"We are convinced that unlawful unilateral sanctions hindering a number of countries from saving the lives of their citizens should be suspended for humanitarian reasons, and, instead of various maneuvers, it would be far more appropriate in the current situation to start setting up green corridors," she said.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on April 22 that he ordered the U.S. Navy to strike Iranian ships if they try to disrupt operations of U.S. vessels at sea. "I have instructed the United States Navy to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea," Trump said on Twitter.

U.S. military had said a week before that 11 Iranian military vessels approached U.S. naval ships in the Gulf, describing those maneuvers as provocative.

The Navy of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said in response that it would retaliate for any unlawful actions by the U.S. in the Gulf.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on April 27 that the recent launch of an Iranian military satellite showed indirectly that Tehran is developing nuclear weapons.