Iran 'won't close strait unless trouble is serious'

Iran will close the strategic Strait of Hormuz at the entrance to the oil-rich Gulf only if its crude revenues are seriously threatened, its top military commander said in remarks reported on Saturday.

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

"But Iran, acting rationally, will not close the corridor through which 40 percent of the world's energy passes, unless its interests are in serious trouble," he said, referring to the country's crucial crude revenues.

Several commanders and officials have vowed that Iran reserves as an option closing the strait -- a strategic choke point for much of the Middle East's oil -- if its nuclear facilities are targeted by military strikes.

The threats, renewed repeatedly since December, have generated warnings from the United States, which says 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 affect any decision to close the passage of oil through the Strait of Hormuz.

Such threats have regularly caused hikes in oil prices across the globe.

Experts believe Iran, which exports all of its oil from its terminals in the Gulf, would be the first victim of any disruption of crude through the channel.

The issue gained momentum this week as more than third of lawmakers in Iran's parliament backed a bill calling for the waterway to be closed to oil tankers headed to Europe, as retaliation for a European Union embargo on Iranian crude that came into effect on July 1.

The EU measure is the latest of a raft of international sanctions designed to pressure Iran to curb its nuclear ambitions, which the West suspects mask military objective despite Tehran's repeated assertions of seeking only the civilian applications of the technology.

The bill echoed a December warning by Iran's first vice president, Mohammad Reza Rahimi, that the Islamic republic would close the strait if its crucial oil revenues are affected by Western sanctions.

His warning was then followed by naval manoeuvres of the elite Revolutionary Guards practising shutting the waterway in January.

The US has also moved new forces into the Gulf to support anti-mine operations in the Gulf to keep the strategic waterway open, the US Navy said Friday.

Iran has also warned it will respond to any military strikes against its atomic facilities.

The United States and Israel say "all options" remain on the table if talks aimed at curbing Iran's nuclear activities, condemned in four sets of sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council, fail.

World powers and Iran revived negotiations over Tehran's nuclear programme this year, but seem to have reached an impasse after three rounds of talks, as differences in the negotiating positions of the two sides remains significant.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • US ambassador recovers from knife attack praised by N. Korea
    US ambassador recovers from knife attack praised by N. Korea

    The US ambassador to South Korea, Mark Lippert, was recovering from surgery Thursday after having his face and arm slashed by a knife-wielding activist in an attack applauded by North Korean state media. The United States condemned the "act of violence" which saw the ambassador rushed to hospital where his condition was described as stable after two-and-a-half hours of surgery that included 80 stitches to a deep gash on his right cheek. During the assault, Kim screamed a slogan in favour of …

  • New Moro rebel group emerges
    New Moro rebel group emerges

    A radical Muslim cleric trained in the Middle East and considered one of the leaders of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) has broken away from the terror group to form his own band of jihadists who are now reportedly providing sanctuary to bomb expert Basit Usman and at least five foreign militants, the military said yesterday. Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Col. Restituto Padilla, citing reports from the field, said the Justice for Islamic Movement (JIM) was …

  • Billionaire finds wreck of WWII ship in Phl
    Billionaire finds wreck of WWII ship in Phl

    Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen says he has found the Japanese Navy’s biggest warship at the bottom of the sea in the Philippines, 70 years after US forces sank it. Allen posted a photo on Twitter on Tuesday of the World War II battleship Musashi’s rusty bow, which bore the Japanese empire’s Chrysanthemum seal. The American billionaire, who has also pursued space exploration, said his luxury yacht and exploration ship, the M/Y Octopus, found the Musashi one kilometer (1.6 miles) deep on the …

  • Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires
    Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires

    Eleven Filipinos are included in Forbes’ 2015 list of richest people in the world. Filipino-Chinese tycoon Henry Sy Sr. continues to be the wealthiest man in the Philippines. The 90-year-old SM supermalls, banking and property tycoon ranked 73rd among the world’s richest with an increased net worth of $14.2 billion from $11.4 billion last year. Sy’s net worth was attributed to the continued growth of his SM Investments Corp. and his more recent venture, the City of Dreams Manila resort and …

  • Ohio mom, boyfriend guilty; child emailed teacher for help

    PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (AP) — A woman and her boyfriend pleaded guilty to raping her young children and were sentenced to prison on Wednesday, a year after one of her daughters emailed a teacher for help and said she and her siblings were being chained to their beds, deprived of food and sexually assaulted. …

  • World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too
    World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too

    TOKYO (AP) — The world's oldest person says 117 years doesn't seem like such a long time. …

  • Miriam bucks house arrest for Enrile
    Miriam bucks house arrest for Enrile

    Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago believes granting Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile house arrest, while former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo remains under hospital detention, will violate the equal protection clause of the Constitution. “That’s already a violation of the equal protection of the law,” she said. …

  • US billionaire says WWII Japanese ship found in Philippines
    US billionaire says WWII Japanese ship found in Philippines

    Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen said Wednesday he had found one of Japan's biggest and most famous battleships on a Philippine seabed, some 70 years after American forces sank it during World War II. Excited historians likened the discovery, if verified, to finding the Titanic, as they hailed the American billionaire for his high-tech mission that apparently succeeded after so many failed search attempts by others. Allen posted photos and video online of parts of what he said was the …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options