04:55 GMT +319 October 2019
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    Iranian warship Alborz

    Iran Threatens to Close Strait of Hormuz, Block Western Warships

    © AP Photo / Fars News Agency, Mahdi Marizad
    Middle East
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    Recently, Tehran announced it may close the Strait of Hormuz if the US continues "threatening" passage through the strategic sea passage.

    The statement was in response to a large-scale US-led maritime exercise, involving 30 nations from six continents. It took place at such major strategic choke points as the Suez Canal, the Strait of Bab Al-Mandeb and the Strait of Hormuz.

    "We have to counter any harmful and ill-intended passage through Strait of Hormuz. We warn the US and its allies against any threatening passage through Hormuz, for if it ever happens, we will have no other choice but act according to the 1982 Convention [of the United Nations on Law of the Sea]," Brigadier General Hossein Salami, deputy commander of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, said.

    Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also condemned the drills demanding from Washington to leave the region.

    Nevertheless, the rhetoric of the Iranian government has actual legal grounds. In special cases, Tehran has the right to close the Strait of Hormuz, Sabbah Zanganeh, former adviser at the Iranian Foreign Ministry, said.

    "If the Iranian government considers a vessel under a foreign flag a potential threat to the region the 1982 Convention gives Tehran the right to close the Strait of Hormuz for any vessels and ships of that country," Zanganeh told Sputnik.

    Iran has the right to protect its territory and other countries in the regions from threats posed by US and its allies, he added.

    "Traditionally, the US has tried to create tensions or a conflict in strategic regions, especially when the energy issue is on the agenda," he pointed out. "The strategy is simple. First, Washington looks for a pretext for its military presence in the region. Then, it sends arms to its regional allies, making them dependent on these supplies. Finally, Washington officially offers assistance in settling the conflict."

    Recently, the number of such provocations by the US in the region has grown, Zanganez underscored.

    According to him, the reason behind is that the US is disappointed in relations with the Gulf Cooperation Council which, in turn, promotes an anti-Iranian stance. After the final nuclear deal with Tehran was signed, Washington has tried to bring more countries on its side.


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    military drills, tensions, Strait of Hormuz, Iran, United States
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