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Iran Warns of Dangers in Persian Gulf : Says It's Not Safe for Either U.S. or Soviet Warships

May 18, 1987|From Times Wire Services

Iranian Prime Minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi said in Tehran today that the Persian Gulf is not secure for the superpowers and their warships should keep out of the waterway.

Mousavi was commenting on the Iraqi missile attack that crippled the U.S. Navy frigate Stark hours after a Soviet tanker was damaged by a sea mine in the northern gulf.

"Great Satan (the United States) has been miserably trapped in this event," Mousavi told the Iranian news agency IRNA.

IRNA quoted Mousavi as saying in an interview that on the one hand Washington had obliged itself to support Iraq against Iran, while, on the other, "it has lost face due to an evident bungle."

He said the incident, in which 28 American sailors were reported killed after Iraqi missiles hit the Stark, would be difficult for the Reagan Administration to justify.

Gulf Not Secure

He said the attack on the warship, as well as damage to the Soviet tanker Marshal Chuykov--damaged by a mine while traveling to Kuwait, which supports Iraq in the war--showed that the gulf is not secure for the superpowers.

"It is in their interest not to enter this quicksand," he said.

He said the United States and the Soviet Union should stop encouraging Iraqi President Saddam Hussein if they wanted "to avoid further humiliations before your own people and the world."

Mousavi said such incidents could spread until oil exports from the gulf were cut off completely.

Mousavi warned Kuwait, which wants a closer relationship with the United States and the Soviet Union so that its tankers can be protected from Iranian attack, that the two incidents had taken the emirate "closer to the edge of a precipice."

In Moscow, the official Soviet news agency Tass today issued a brief report without comment on the Iraqi missile attack on the U.S. frigate.

The Soviet Union has repeatedly called on Iran and Iraq to end their war, which has sometimes spilled over to affect international shipping in the gulf, but it has supplied Iraq with arms during the conflict.

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