By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — A senior commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards has responded to U.S. warnings over possible Iranian moves in the Strait of Hormuz by suggesting Tehran would counter any “threats” with threats of its own.
The U.S. Defense Department had said on December 28 that it would not “tolerate” any disruptions in the Strait of Hormuz, a main route for much of the Middle East’s oil to world markets.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. Fifth Fleet said the U.S. Navy had a “robust presence” in the region to safeguard its “vital links to the international community.”
Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps commander Hossein Salami countered on December 29 by saying, “Our response to threats is threats.”
The U.S. warning itself came a day after Iranian Vice President Mohammad-Reza Rahimi said Tehran wouldn’t allow oil to cross the Strait of Hormuz if new sanctions were enacted that targeted Iran’s oil.
U.S. officials are readying legislation for new sanctions against Iran’s Central Bank that could considerably weaken Iran’s oil revenues.
France’s Foreign Ministry warned on December 28 that “all ships, no matter what flag they fly, have the right of transit passage” in the strait.
China said on December 29 that it “hopes peace and stability can be maintained in the strait.”
A hard-line newspaper close to Iran’s supreme leader suggested this month that Tehran should consider affecting traffic in the Strait of Hormuz to punish countries that have sanctioned Iran over its nuclear program.
Iran’s top naval commander, Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, said more recently that “blocking the Strait of Hormuz would be as easy for us as drinking a glass of water, but for the time being there is no need to do so.”