Sunday, January 1, 2012

US and Iran continue war of words over Hormuz - Middle East

Source: Al Jazeera English

The Strait of Hormuz is a choke point at the entrance to the Gulf through which more than a third of the world's tanker-borne oil passes.

Iranian Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi warned earlier this week that "not a drop of oil will pass through the Strait of Hormuz" if the West followed through with planned additional sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme. Admiral Habibollah Sayari, a navy commander, backed that up by saying it would be "really easy" to close the strait.

A US defence department spokesman said on Wednesday that "interference with the transit ... of vessels through the Strait of Hormuz will not be tolerated".

But Brigadier General Hossein Salami, the deputy commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, told the Fars news agency on Thursday that "our response to threats is threats". "We have no doubt about our being able to carry out defensive strategies to protect our vital interests. We will act more decisively than ever," he was quoted as saying. "The Americans are not qualified to give us permission" to carry out military strategy, he said.

Sayari said the US aircraft carrier was monitored by Iranian forces as it passed from the Strait of Hormuz to the Gulf of Oman, state television reported, while broadcasting footage of an aircraft carrier being shadowed by an Iranian plane.

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at Al Jazeera English.

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