U.S. and UK presence in Gulf brings insecurity: Iran Revolutionary Guards navy chief

FILE PHOTO: A gunner fires a Mark 38 25 mm machine gun system during a live-fire exercise aboard the guided-missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55) in the Gulf, in this undated handout picture released by U.S. Navy on August 1, 2019. Zachary Pearson/U.S. Navy/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo

GENEVA (Reuters) - The presence of America and Britain in the Gulf region brings insecurity, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards navy, Alireza Tangsiri, was reported as saying by the ILNA news agency.

Tensions have spiked between Iran and the U.S. and Britain in the Gulf after the Islamic Republic shot down an American drone in June and seized a British tanker last month for violating maritime regulations.

Iran seized the tanker two weeks after British Royal Marines detained an Iranian tanker on suspicion of violating European Union sanctions by taking oil to Syria, a close ally of Iran.

“The presence of America and England in this region means insecurity,” he said.

Iran can provide security in the Gulf by forming a coalition with other countries in the region, Tangsiri said.

Tangsiri said that Iran wants peace and stability in the Gulf but appeared to issue a veiled threat by saying that if a ship that uses nuclear fuel were to be targeted in the Gulf, the countries in the south of the region will not have drinking water because of contamination, Mehr news agency reported.

Reporting by Babak Dehghanpisheh; Editing by David Goodman