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Iran rules out Cold War-style crisis hotline with US Open in fullscreen

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Iran rules out Cold War-style crisis hotline with US

Employees install the "red phone" in the White House [AFP via Getty Images]

Date of publication: 4 May, 2020

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Iran has had tense encounters at sea for years with the US Navy in the Persian Gulf, through which 20 percent of its oil passes.

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Iran, US
The Iranian foreign ministry on Monday staunchly rejected the establishment of a Cold War-style crisis hotline with the US to prevent a direct confrontation in the territorial waters of the Persian Gulf, according to local media.

"We do not recognise American presence in the water of the Gulf and regard it a violation of regional security", Foreign Ministry spokesman Ali Abbas Mousavi said in a statement.

"There are other channels of communication. We are in direct contact with the Swiss embassy in Tehran, who are represent US interests in the country" Mousavi added. In the video conference held with reporters he addressed the recent encounter between the Iranian and US navies in the Persian Gulf last month.

After 11 Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) naval gunboats carried out what the US navy termed as "dangerous and harassing approaches" on its vessels, President Donald Trump ordered his forces to "shoot" any Iranian ships engaging in such acts.

Iran has had tense encounters at sea for years with the US Navy in the Persian Gulf, as well as in the Strait of Hormuz, through which 20 percent of its oil passes. The US has patrolled the area to protect global shipping for decades, something Iran describes as akin to it patrolling the Gulf of Mexico.

The International Crisis Group, noting the tensions, urged both countries to create a deconfliction hotline to avoid a possible military confrontation.

"In the absence of a major diplomatic breakthrough, an indirect military communications channel could go some way toward ensuring, at least, that a single incident will not spark a wider conflagration," it said in a report last month

In 1963, a hotline - known in popular culture as the "red telephone" - was established between the United States and USSR, to give the Pentagon and Kremlin a direct means of communication in the event of crisis.

It came in the wake of the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, in which the two superpowers came dangerously close to all-out nuclear war.

According to History.com, the highly tense diplomatic exchange that followed was plagued by the-then slow and tedious communication systems between the two global superpowers.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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