TEHRAN, Iran – A top Iranian naval commander says Tehran’s forces have full control over the Gulf’s strategic Strait of Hormuz, but have no plans to try to close the route for one-fifth of the world’s oil.
The comments by Adm. Ali Reza Tangsiri, who is acting commander of the Revolutionary Guard naval forces, appear designed to reinforce Iran’s claims of military dominance over the Strait as US naval forces boost their presence in the Gulf.
Tangsiri also seeks to reassure world oil markets. Oil prices have been swayed by worries that Iran could choke off tanker traffic in retaliation for tighter sanctions over its nuclear program.
His comments were carried by the official IRNA news agency Monday.
“The enemies constantly state that Iran intends to close the Strait of Hormuz but we say that common sense does not dictate that Iran would close the Strait of Hormuz as long as it makes use of it,” said Tangsiri.
Iran’s parliament is debating a bill recommending the strait be closed in retaliation to a European Union embargo on Iranian oil which came into full effect this month.
The sanctions are aimed at forcing Tehran to curb the nuclear activities that the West says are aimed at developing weapons capability, something Iran denies. Talks between Tehran and world powers on the issue have stalled. – Agencies