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Iran dismisses need for military 'hotline' with US

An Iranian warship. A file photo.

TEHRAN (AFP): Iran has rejected the idea of setting up an emergency 'hotline' with Washington to avoid unwanted military confrontations in the Gulf, Fars news agency reported.

"We do not need such a (communication) line in the region," Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi was quoted as saying on Wednesday.

"They are seeking to set up a hotline in order to solve any potential tensions, whereas we believe if they leave the region, there will be no tension," General Vahidi added.

The remarks come a week after US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen lamented the lack of a 'direct communication link' with Iran amid concerns it could lead to dangerous miscalculations.

"We haven't had a connection with Iran since 1979. Even in the darkest days of the Cold War, we had links to the Soviet Union," Mullen told the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on September 21.

"We're not talking to Iran so we don't understand each other. If something happens, it's virtually assured that we won't get it right, that there will be miscalculations which would be extremely dangerous in that part of the world."

Mullen, the highest-ranking US officer, expressed his concerns a day after the Wall Street Journal reported that Pentagon was considering establishing a military hotline with Tehran.

The report said Washington was especially worried about a fleet of speedboats that often challenge US and allied warships in the Persian Gulf.

The US has not had diplomatic relations with Iran since its 1979 revolution and has increasingly expressed concern in recent years about Iran's alleged regional ambitions.


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