Iran's foreign minister says Tehran respects freedom of navigation in the Persian Gulf, a day after Iranian patrol boats seized a container ship under a Marshall Islands flag in one of the world's busiest oil shipping lanes.
"The Persian Gulf is our lifeline.... We will respect international navigation," Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said during a discussion on April 29 hosted by the New York University Center on International Cooperation and the think tank New America.
"For us, freedom of navigation in the Persian Gulf is a must," he said.
The White House voiced concern on April 29 about the impact on navigation caused by Iranian authorities' seizure of the Maersk Tigris container ship.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon said U.S. forces had reconnaissance aircraft in the area to monitor developments with the ship, which was forcibly diverted to an anchorage near the port of Bandar Abbas as it was traveling through the Strait of Hormuz on April 28.
Pentagon spokesman Steve Warren also said a U.S. Navy destroyer, the Farragut, and three coastal patrol ships were operating in the vicinity of the Strait of Hormuz.