Saber-rattling in Persian Gulf Escalates
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have rejected a warning issued by the United States not to close down the Strait of Hormuz in response to crippling sanctions.
Iran’s “response to threats is threats,” said Brigadier General Hossein Salami, a Revolutionary Guards commander. He added that the United States is not in a position to tell Tehran “what to do in the Strait of Hormuz.”
On Wednesday, Iran threatened for a second time to shut down the Strait of Hormuz if new sanctions are imposed in response to its nuclear program. “If they impose sanctions on Iran’s oil exports, then even one drop of oil cannot flow from the Strait of Hormuz,” said Iranian Vice President Mohamed Reza Rahimi.
According to Iran’s IRNA news agency, an Iranian warplane spotted a U.S. aircraft carrier during Tehran’s 10-day military exercise in the Persian Gulf.
“An Iranian vessel and surveillance plane have tracked, filmed and photographed a US aircraft carrier as it was entering the Gulf of Oman from the Persian Gulf,” explained Adm. Habibollah Sayyari. “The foreign fleet will be warned by Iranian forces if it enters the area of the drill.”
The U.S. navy on Thursday confirmed the aircraft carrier John C. Stennis had moved toward the Gulf of Oman. It is accompanied by the guided-missile cruiser Mobile Bay and a number of other ships.
“Anyone who threatens to disrupt freedom of navigation in an international strait is clearly outside the community of nations,” said 5th Fleet spokeswoman Lt. Rebecca Rebarich on Wednesday, “any disruption will not be tolerated.” She added that the U.S. navy is “always ready to counter malevolent actions to ensure freedom of navigation.”