US calls on Iran to keep energy flow through Strait of Hormuz

The US State Department has called on Iran to keep the straits of Hormuz and Bab Al-Mandeb open. (Reuters/File Photo)
Updated 24 April 2019
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US calls on Iran to keep energy flow through Strait of Hormuz

WASHINGTON: The US State Department has called on Iran to keep the straits of Hormuz and Bab Al-Mandeb open, an official said on Tuesday after the US a day earlier demanded that Iran oil buyers halt their purchases by May 1.

"We call on Iran, and all countries, to respect the free flow of energy and commerce, and freedom of navigation" in the straits, the official said. 

Iran has said it would block the Strait of Hormuz if it was barred from using the strategic waterway through which about a fifth of oil that is consumed globally passes.

The threat from an Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) commander followed a US announcement on Monday that it would end exemptions granted last year to eight buyers of Iranian oil and demanding they stop purchases by May 1 or face sanctions.

Oil prices have surged to six-month highs.

The Strait of Hormuz, a vital shipping route linking Middle East oil producers to markets in Asia, Europe, North America and beyond, has been at the heart of regional tensions for decades. Iran has made threats to block the waterway in the past, without acting on them.


Two killed in Iraq after vehicle explodes in car wash

Updated 23 May 2019
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Two killed in Iraq after vehicle explodes in car wash

  • The explosion took place in Qaim district of Anbar province, once a Daesh stronghold

FALLUJAH: A parked vehicle exploded in Iraq's western province of Anbar, killing two people and wounding two others, a district mayor said on Thursday, the latest attack inside what was once Daesh's last stronghold in the country.
The explosion occurred in Anbar's Qaim district, 300 kilometers west of Baghdad. Iraqi forces retook the area, which lies on the border with Syria, in December 2017, after which they declared final victory over the group.
The vehicle was parked inside a car wash, said Qaim Mayor Ahmed Mahallawi. The attack targeted members of the Popular Mobilisation Forces, a group of Iran-backed Shi'ite arnmed factions who helped defeat the Sunni militants, and successfully killed one, wounding two others. A car wash worker was also killed.