Reacting to Iranian Threat, U.S. Navy Says Will Protect Free Flow of Commerce

LONDON (Reuters) -
A security guard looks on at oil docks at the port of Kalantari in the city of Chabahar, east of the Strait of Hormuz in this file photo. (Reuters/Raheb Homavandi/Files)

The U.S. Navy stands ready to ensure freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce, a spokesman for the U.S. military’s Central Command said on Thursday, after Iran threatened to block oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz if Washington bans its oil sales.

“The U.S. and its partners provide and promote security and stability in the region. Together, we stand ready to ensure the freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce wherever international law allows,” Central Command spokesman Navy Captain Bill Urban said in an email to Reuters.

An Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander explicitly said on Wednesday that Iran would block any exports of crude for the Gulf in retaliation for hostile U.S. action.

“If they want to stop Iranian oil exports, we will not allow any oil shipment to pass through the Strait of Hormuz,” Ismail Kowsari was quoted as saying by the Young Journalists Club (YJC) website.

Maj.-Gen. Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds force, in charge of foreign operations for the Revolutionary Guards, said in a letter published on IRNA: “I [compliment Rouhani] for expressing such wise and timely comments, and I am at your service to implement any policy that serves the Islamic Republic.”