'Really easy' for Iran to close key strait - Admiral
Iran: Closing the Strait of Hormuz, the vital oil transit stretch at
the entrance to the Gulf, would be "really easy" for Iran to do, but was
not necessary right now, Iran's navy chief said Wednesday.
"Shutting the strait for Iran's armed forces is really easy -- or as
we say (in Iran) easier than drinking a glass of water," Admiral
Habibollah Sayari said in an interview with Iran's Press TV.
"But today, we don't need (to shut) the strait because we have the
Sea of Oman under control, and can control the transit," he said.
Sayari was speaking as Iran was midway through 10 days of navy
exercises in international waters to the east of the narrow Strait of
Hormuz, in the Gulf of Oman.
World prices climbed after Iran's vice president, Mohammad Reza
Rahimi, warned on Tuesday that "not a drop of oil will pass through the
Strait of Hormuz" if the West broadened sanctions against Iran over its
"The enemies will only drop their plots when we put them back in
their place," the official news agency IRNA quoted Rahimi as saying.
New York-traded light sweet crude rose to $101.36 on the threat.
Forty percent of the world's tanker-borne oil passes through the
Strait of Hormuz, a strategic chokepoint that links the Gulf -- and its
petroleum-exporting states of Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and
the United Arab Emirates -- with the Gulf of Oman and the Indian Ocean
beyond. The United States maintains a navy presence in the Gulf in large
part to ensure that passage for oil remains free.
But Sayari asserted that the Strait of Hormuz "is completely under
the control of the Islamic Republic of Iran." He said Iran's navy was
constituted with the aim of being able to close the strait if necessary.
Sayari added that the navy manoeuvres east of the strait were
designed to show Gulf neighbours the power of Iran's military over the
Ships and aircraft dropped mines in the sea Tuesday as part of the
drill, according to a navy spokesman. AFP