Alwaght- Iran’s top military commander said on Sunday all American ships passing through the Strait of Hormuz have so far remained answerable to the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps as the force in charge of security in the strategic waterway despite Washington’s provocative decision to blacklist the IRGC as a terrorist organization.
Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri told reporters on Sunday that no change has so far been reported in the conduct of US warships, commercial vessels and oil tankers, and they have up until now been responding to the IRGC’s questions as usual while sailing through the Strait of Hormuz
He said Iran wants the strait — through which nearly one-third of all oil traded by sea passes — to remain open and secure, warning that the country will not allow anyone to destabilize the waters.
“As oil and commodities of other countries are passing through the Strait of Hormuz, ours are also moving through it,” said Baqeri. Iran “will definitely confront anyone who attempts to destabilize the Strait of Hormuz, and if our crude is not to pass through the Strait of Hormuz, others' [crude] will not pass either.”
The Iranian commander explained, “This does not mean [that we are going to] close the Strait of Hormuz. We do not intend to shut it unless the enemies’ hostile acts will leave us with no other option. We will be fully capable of closing it on that day.”
Earlier this week, the White House once again took aim at Iran’s oil sector, ending six months of waivers which allowed Tehran’s eight largest customers to continue importing limited volumes.
It threatened the buyers of Iranian oil with sanctions if they fail to stop their purchases by May 1, in a move that quickly sent global crude prices to their highest levels since last November.
Iran has said it may close the Strait of Hormuz if prevented from using the waterway, which links crude producers in the Middle East to markets in Europe, Asia Pacific, North America and beyond.
In a recent interview with Reuters, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that Iran was “not going to take any action” should the US continue observing the rules of engagement.