On March 6, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on the world community to prevent Iran from dispatching oil abroad. He also threatened to deploy the Israeli Navy to help tackle Iran’s alleged efforts to illegally take oil through sea routes to avoid US sanctions.
If the Israeli Navy tries to block Iran’s oil sales, Tehran will “respond firmly,” Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami said on Wednesday.
The defense minister also noted that Israeli actions would be seen as “piracy” if the navy acted against Iran, according to the IRNA news agency.
The Minister’s statement following threats by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed last week it would deploy to the Israeli Navy to deal with Iran’s attempts suspected of smuggling oil through sea routes to avoid sanctions imposed by Washington . However, the Israeli official did not specify how the navy would address that and whether it would turn into a direct armed confrontation at sea.
The Iranian Navy has been seeking to increase its presence at sea amid a new escalation of tensions with the United States following the decision of the latter to withdraw from the Iran nuclear agreement, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Action Plan, and reimpose the economic sanctions in Tehran. In particular, earlier this year, Tehran conducted simulations in the Strait of Hormuz, a strategically important route for oil exports from the region. Iran had also previously threatened to block this key sea route if Washington provoked it and blocked its oil exports.
Israel is one of Washington’s key allies in the Middle East and a major buyer of US arms and military equipment.The two states share the same position on the Iran issue.