Israel Would "Spark War" By Joining US Flotilla In Gulf: Iran's Navy Chief

Days ago we reported that Israel's leaders were in discussions over the possibility of joining the recently proposed US maritime coalition in the Persian Gulf to escort international tankers to ward off threats from Iran, which could involve direct Israeli naval participation, or more likely would be limited to intelligence-sharing. 

Following the initial Reuters and Israeli media reports of top cabinet level meetings taking place, Tehran warned on Sunday that any Israeli presence in waters near Iran would lead to war

“Any illegitimate presence by the Zionists in the waters of the Persian Gulf could spark a war,” Navy commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s Navy, Alireza Tangsiri, warned on Sunday.

Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Navy commander Alireza Tangsiri. Screen capture/YouTube via The Times of Israel.

The warning came a day after on Saturday Senior Advisor to the Iranian Parliament, Speaker Hossein Amir Abdollahian, posted a statement to social media promising that "smoke will rise from Tel Aviv" should Israel joint the United States' maritime patrol in the gulf.

Israeli media had quoted Foreign Minister Israel Katz last week as confirming discussions were underway among top defense officials over possibly joining the US maritime protection initiative in the contested waters.

Thus far Israel has reportedly offered to provide intelligence to the joint maritime patrol mission, as well as other undefined assistance. 

It's unlikely that either the US or other members of the potential coalition like the UK would allow actual Israeli naval or troop presence in the Persian Gulf, given the likelihood that it would lead to war, as the IRGC is now threatening. 

Meanwhile the only European country to enthusiastically jump on board the US administration's joint patrol plan has been the United Kingdom, with Germany and France trying to distance themselves, even as they attempt to form a European-led maritime initiative.

Most countries are still "undecided," for example France, Japan, and India, and are likely waiting to see what others do. Even China is reportedly mulling some level of involvement in the proposed escort mission.