Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Saturday said that the United States' military presence in the Gulf caused "disaster" and helped extremism nurture in the region. Zarif accused the United States of cashing in on the rivalries in the region and taking the opportunity to increase its military presence. Zarif said that Washington is benefiting from the arms race that it itself started by selling more weapons in the region.
The United States has been a major player in the region along with the former Soviet Union. Saudi Arabia, arch-rival of Iran is a key ally of the United States, with the latter even supporting the proxy war between the two regional players taking place in Yemen. United States' military presence in the region dates back to the first Iraq war in 1991, also known as the Gulf war. And ever since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, Washington's military presence in the region has grown rapidly.
Mohammad Javad Zarif's latest comment came days after Iran issued a travel advisory for its citizens and warned them agaimst travelling to the United States. Iran's advisory particularly warned the elite class of the country and other scholars against travelling to the United States. The reason cited in the advisory was the US' cruel and one-sided law against Iranians.
Currently, there are no formal diplomatic ties between Iran and the United States. Pakistan has been serving as Iran's protecting power in the United States and Switzerland is doing the same for Washington in Tehran since 1980. Recently, the Iranian Foreign Ministry summoned Swiss envoy over US intervention in Iran's internal affairs. Iran accuses the United States of interfering in the ongoing protest in the country over rising fuel prices.
Iran is facing tough sanctions from the United States after the collapse of the nuclear deal also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Trump administration pulled out of the deal in May 2018 and announced that the US would reimpose the economic sanctions on Iran.