Iran threatens to close Strait of Hormuz over US military drills in gulf

Published May 5th, 2016 - 07:00 GMT
An aerial view of the strategic Strait of Hormuz. (File photo)
An aerial view of the strategic Strait of Hormuz. (File photo)

The deputy commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard said Iran would close the strategic Strait of Hormuz to the United States and its allies if they “threaten” the Islamic Republic.

On Wednesday, the interior ministry sent a note to the Swiss embassy in Tehran -- which represents the US interests in Iran, censuring US military drills in the gulf.

“Iran will do whatever is necessary to bolster peace and stability in the Persian Gulf,” read part of the note, which was in reaction to a bill proposed last week by US Republican congressman Randy Forbes that called for measures against Iran’s military drills in the Persian Gulf.  

On Tuesday, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps’ (IRGC) second-in-command said that Iran will not give in to “restrictions from any power in the world” in conducting military drills, emphasizing that it is Iran’s “legal right” to hold military exercises according to its strategic plans. 

Lt. Rick Chernitzer, a spokesman for the US Navy’s 5th Fleet in Bahrain, said the US would “continue to operate in accordance with professional maritime standards and international law” in the Gulf region.

“We remain thoughtful, vigilant and responsible mariners as we conduct our operations here,” Chernitzer said. “We do, however, reserve the inherent right to self-defense.”

US Navy officials say they face near-daily encounters with Iranian naval vessels, and in January, 10 US sailors were captured after crossing into Iranian waters and later released. 

Editor's note: This article has been edited from the original.

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