US warns Iran against closing Hormuz oil route

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — The U.S. warned Iran Wednesday that it will not tolerate any disruption of naval traffic through the Strait of Hormuz, after Iran's navy chief said the Islamic Republic is capable of closing the vital oil route if the West imposes new sanctions targeting Tehran's oil exports.

Iran's Adm. Habibollah Sayyari told state-run Press TV that closing the strait, which is the only sea outlet for the crucial oil fields in and around the Persian Gulf, "is very easy" for his country's naval forces.

It was the second such warning by Iran in two days, reflecting Tehran's concern that the West is about to impose new sanctions that could hit the country's biggest source of revenue, its oil sector. On Tuesday, Vice President Mohamed Reza Rahimi threatened to close the strait if the West imposes such sanctions.

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Comment by TommyD on December 29, 2011 at 9:24am

Call this an assumption, but any ship involved in the Straits of Hormuz would probably be insured by Lloyd's of London...

Comment by Old Denmark on December 29, 2011 at 3:53am

U.S. warns Iran to stop ships
No obstacles for ship traffic will be tolerated in the Hormuz Strait, warns U.S. Navy

17:14, 28 December 2011 | Ritzau / News

U.S. fifth fleet warns Iran that it will not allow any obstacles to shipping traffic movement in the Hormuz Strait.

The warning comes after the regime in Tehran has threatened to stop oil tankers in the strategically important waters.

- The free movement of goods and services through the Hormuz Strait is of vital importance for regional and global prosperity, says a spokesman for the U.S. Navy unit based in Bahrain.

The warning comes in response to a question from Reuters, which has asked for their reactions to Iran's threats to close the Strait of oil tankers.

- Anyone who threatens to interfere with the free navigation in international waters are clearly outside the international community. No interruptions will be tolerated, it said.

Iran's top naval officer reiterated earlier Wednesday threats to close the strait.

- To close the Strait of Hormuz on Iran's armed forces is really easy, or that we Iranians say it, then it will be easier than drinking a glass of water, said Habibollah Sayyari the English-language Iranian Press TV.

- But right now we have no need to close the Strait because we control the Oman Sea and we are able to control all transit traffic, added Sayyari, who is leading a 10-day naval exercise in the Hormuz Strait.

Tension has increased between Iran and the West after the EU foreign ministers three weeks ago decided to tighten sanctions against the world's fifth largest oil exporter to force the country to suspend its controversial nuclear program.

UN watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), says that Iran's nuclear program ultimately aims to develop an atomic bomb.

That is why the proposal for an embargo on Iranian oil.

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