US Navy ready to ensure 'free navigation' after Iran Hormuz threat

The US Navy stands ready to ensure freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce, a spokesman for the US military's Central Command said on Thursday. (Reuters)
Updated 05 July 2018

US Navy ready to ensure 'free navigation' after Iran Hormuz threat

  • Revolutionary Guards warn they would block oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz
  • Central command spokesman says and US will promote security in the region

LONDON: The US Navy stands ready to ensure free navigation and the flow of commerce, the US military's Central Command said on Thursday, after Iran's Revolutionary Guards warned they would block oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and some senior military commanders have threatened in recent days to disrupt oil shipments from Gulf countries if Washington tries to cut Tehran's exports.

“The US and its partners provide, and promote security and stability in the region,” Central Command spokesman Navy Captain Bill Urban said in an email to Reuters.

Asked by Reuters what would be the US Naval Forces’ reaction if Iran blocks the strait, he said: “Together, we stand ready to ensure the freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce wherever international law allows.”

In May, US President Donald Trump pulled out of the deal under which sanctions on Iran were lifted in return for curbs to its nuclear program.

Washington has since told countries they must stop buying Iranian oil from Nov. 4 or face financial measures.

The head of the Revolutionary Guards said on Thursday their forces were ready to block the strait, which links the Gulf to the Arabian Sea.

If Iran cannot sell its oil under US pressure, then no other regional country will be allowed to either, said Mohammad Ali Jafari, who commands the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iran’s most powerful military force.

“We will make the enemy understand that either all can use the Strait of Hormuz or no one,” Jafari was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency.

The Strait of Hormuz is the most important oil transit channel in the world with about one-fifth of global oil consumption passing through each day.

Three women, baby die after migrant boat sinks off Turkey

Updated 1 min 47 sec ago

Three women, baby die after migrant boat sinks off Turkey

  • Turkish authorities rescued 11 people when the boat drowned
  • Almost one million refugees fled into the European Union through Turkey

ANKARA: Three women and a child drowned when a boat carrying migrants sank off the Turkish coast, the Turkish coast guard said on Tuesday.
Turkish authorities rescued 11 more people after the boat went down 1.7 nautical miles off the coast near Canakkale early Tuesday morning, the coast guard said in a statement.
State news agency Anadolu said the migrants were from Afghanistan and Iran.
Turkey, which has taken in nearly four million refugees from the Syrian war, is also an important route for illegal migrants trying to reach Europe.
Around a million people, mainly fleeing the conflict in Syria, crossed to European Union member Greece from Turkey in 2015 after the onset of the bloc’s worst migration crisis since World War II.
Ankara struck a deal with the EU in 2016 to stem the flow of migrants into Europe, and agreed to take back those landing on Greek islands in exchange for incentives and financial aid.