TEHRAN: Iran’s top general warned on Sunday Tehran could close the strategic Strait of Hormuz shipping route if it faces more “hostility,” news agency ISNA said, as the US tightens up sanctions.
A day earlier, US Central Command chief Gen. Kenneth McKenzie said the US would deploy the necessary resources to counter any dangerous actions by Iran, Sky News Arabia reported.
“We’re gonna continue to reach out to our partners and friends in the region to ensure that we make common cause against the threat of Iran,” McKenzie, on an official visit to the Gulf region, was quoted as saying by Sky News Arabia.
“I believe we’ll have the resources necessary to deter Iran from taking actions that will be dangerous,” he said, according to a transcript released by the Abu Dhabi-based channel. “We will be able to respond effectively.”
Strait of Hormuz
Iranian armed forces chief of staff Mohammad Bagheri told semi-official ISNA: “We are not after closing the Strait of Hormuz but if the hostility of enemies increase, we will be able to do so,”
“Also if our oil does not go through the strait, other countries’ oil will certainly not cross the strait, too,” he added.
The statement came after Washington said on April 22 it would start imposing sanctions on countries such as India, China and Turkey that buy Iranian oil.
Eight countries were initially given six-month reprieves after the US reimposed sanctions on Iran in November, following US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from a 2015 nuclear accord.
Iranian officials have repeatedly warned the Islamic republic could shut down the strait, a vital shipping lane for international oil supplies, should it find its national interests or security threatened.
“We believe Iran will continue to sell its oil ... (and) use the Strait of Hormuz. But if the United States takes the crazy measure of trying to prevent us from doing that, then it should be prepared for the consequences,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Wednesday.