Iran issues ultimatum on Strait of Hormuz

Iran issues ultimatum on Strait of Hormuz

Iran does not intend to close the Strait of Hormuz, but would severely confront those who endanger its security, Chief of staff of Iran's armed forces, Major-General Mohammad Baqeri said.

"The [Iranian] authorities have announced that we are not seeking to close the Strait of Hormuz, but if the enemies' hostilities grow, we will be able to do it," IRNA cited him as saying.

The subject of closing the strait by Iran in retaliation for the United States' hostile measures came up once again after Washington called on all buyers of Iranian oil to cut their purchases, or face penalties. 

Baqeri said Iran wants the strategic waterway to remain open because goods and oil of various countries, including Iran, pass through it daily. 

"The security of the strait is the duty of Iranian armed forces … American vessels have been in contact with Iran's forces and there has been no problem so far," he said. 

Commander of Iranian Army Navy Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi said today that Iran and Russia agreed to conduct a joint military drill in southern waters of Iran in the near future.

Earlier U.S. President Donald Trump announced that it will not renew special waivers that allowed eight countries to import Iranian oil without violating renewed sanctions. Iran reacted angrily, threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz.

Senior research fellow of the Institute for Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Vladimir Sazhin, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, recalled in the first place that the issue of closing the Strait of Hormuz has been raised by the Iranian side for several years in a row, but it should not be expected in reality. "I think it's a bluff. According to various sources, from 20% to 30% of tanker oil passes through the strait, practically all the oil-producing countries of the Persian Gulf are tied to the strait. Technically it is relatively easy to close it, but politically it's very difficult," the expert said.

According to him, if Iran does this, it will set oneself at odds with the Arab world completely. "I don’t think that the United States, which has a central command and fleet in the Persian Gulf, will calmly look at such actions of Tehran. And it would be a serious regional war. Of course, I don’t think that the U.S. and its allies will deploy land troops to attack on Iranian territory, but missile and air strikes against the naval and air bases are possible. It is quite likely. And Tehran is well aware of it," the senior research fellow of the Institute for Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences explained.

He also expressed doubt that all countries, including Iran, are ready for such a war. The expert stressed that this is the next stage of intimidation by Iran of their opponents, first of all, the Americans and their allies.

The head of the Iranian section of the Center for the Study of Countries at the Middle East of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the RAS, Nina Mamedova, agreed with Sazhin. "The Iranian authorities have declared their readiness to close the Strait of Hormuz during the period of sanctions of previous years, they talked about this every month, but the strait still has not been closed. It's even less likely that the current government will do it. Iran will not take this step because Tehran’s key task is to preserve the JCPOA as an international treaty. If they close the strait, the JCPOA will collapse," she said.