Netanyahu: Israel Will Join Int’l Coalition Opposing Iranian Threats to Red Sea Shipping

Addressing a graduating class of naval officers, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that if Iran attempts to close a crucial shipping lane, Israel would be part of an international coalition to ensure that the waterway remains open for international shipping, The Times of Israel reported Wednesday.

Netanyahu’s remarks come a week after Iranian-backed Houthi rebels attacked two Saudi tankers in the Bab al Mandab strait at the mouth of the Red Sea, prompting Saudi Arabia to announce that it was suspending shipments through the strategic strait. The statement also comes at a time that Iran is reportedly planning a drill that could potentially shut down a different critical shipping lane, the Straits of Hormuz, at the mouth of the Persian Gulf.

“At the beginning of the week we witnessed a serious clash with Iran’s proxies who tried to obstruct international movement in the straits at the entrance to the Red Sea,” Netanyahu said to graduates of Israel’s captains’ course, referring to the attack on the Saudi tankers.

“If Iran tries to block the Bab Al-Mandab Straits, I’m convinced that it will find itself facing a determined international coalition to prevent this,” Netanyahu told the new commanders. He added, “This coalition would include Israel.”

In addition to the planned drill in the Straits of Hormuz,  Iran’s Navy Commander Rear-Admiral Hossein Khanzadi suggested this week that Iran could close the Straits of Hormuz. “Keeping the Strait open depends on Iran’s interests,” Khanzadi said.

Last month, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani praised Iranian President Hassan Rouhani for threatening the world’s oil supply. Referring to earlier remarks by Rouhani, Soleimani said, “Your valuable statement that said there will be no guarantees for oil exports from this region unless the Islamic Republic of Iran (can) also export its oil was a source of pride.”

[Photo: IRNA ]