08:19 GMT09 July 2020
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    Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), navy and naval defense forces started annual large-scale drills involving over 100 vessels in the Strait of Hormuz on Thursday.

    Iranian Navy commander Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi has said that Iran's Navy and the IRGC were responsible for ensuring the security in the Strait of Hormuz.

    "The security of the Strait will have an influence [on] those who threaten Iran by using their petrodollars," Khanzadi said, speaking on the sidelines of an international military competition in the northern Iranian city of Noshahr this week, according to Iran's FARS News Agency.

    "If the oil faucet is turned on and the petrodollars go into the pockets of those who threaten Iran, this will definitely have an impact on the security of the Strait," he added.

    The senior officer noted that the continued functioning of the Strait, a chokepoint for some 20% of the world's oil supplies, would depend on commitments by the international community toward Tehran.

    Khanzadi also emphasized that the US would not play any role in Iran's decisions on the Strait. "We assess the US measures but they do not affect our decisions; our decisions are based only on the orders of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces," he said, referring to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

    The IRGC, Iran's Navy and coastal defense forces amassed a large force, reported to include over 100 vessels, near the Strait of Hormuz for drills this week. The drills kicked off on Thursday, according to Reuters.

    Tensions between Iran and the US escalated sharply in May after Washington withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal. Other signatories of the treaty have been left trying to salvage it amid the looming reimposition of US energy-related sanctions against Iran in November. Last month, Khamenei warned that if Iranian oil exports were blocked, other regional exporters' oil supplies would be blocked in retaliation. The US has previously demanded that countries buying Iranian crude oil should bring their purchases down "to zero" by the time Washington reimposes sanctions in November or face penalties. 

    Tankers carrying crude oil from Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE pass through the Strait of Hormuz. Economists say any blockage of the route, however temporary, would have devastating consequences for the world economy.


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