General: Iran to close strait if threatened

Top commander says Iran won’t shut strategic waterway, unless its interests are compromised

By AFP

 

Iran has plans to close the Strait of Hormuz, which sees more than a third of the world’s oil tanker traffic, but only if the country’s interests are seriously threatened.

Iranian navy at Strait of Hormuz Photo: EPA

Iranian navy at Strait of Hormuz – Photo: EPA

“We have plans to close the Strait of Hormuz because military commanders must have plans for any situation,” Iran’s armed forces chief of staff, General Hassan Firouzabadi, said late Friday according to ISNA news agency.

“But Iran, acting rationally, will not close the corridor through which 40% of the world’s energy passes, unless its interests are in serious trouble,” he said.

Several commanders and officials have vowed that Iran reserves closing the strategic strait as an option, to be used if its nuclear program is targeted by military strikes.

The threats, renewed repeatedly since December, prompting the United States to warn that any attempt by Iran to close the waterway is a “red line” that would trigger a US military reaction.

“What my colleagues say regarding (the closing of the strait) echo missions assigned to them,” Firouzabadi told the Khorasan daily.

But, he explained, “the order to carry out the mission will only come from a decision by the Supreme National Security Council and approved by Supreme Leader” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has final say on all state matters.

Firouzabadi said statements by military commanders would not impact the decision whether to close the passage of oil through the Strait of Hormuz.

 

Iranian navy rescues Signapore ship

Also on Saturday, the Islamic Republic’s naval forces rescued a Singaporean commercial ship from a pirate attack in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, which connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia in the Horn of Africa, Iran’s Press TV reported.

According to the report, the navy said that it received a distress call issued by the Singaporean ship after the vessel was attacked by 12 pirate speedboats.

Iranian warships reportedly rushed to the scene and managed to drive back the assailants following an exchange of fire.

 

View original Ynet publication at: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4252286,00.html

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