TEHRAN, Iran — The deputy commander of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard said Iranian forces will close the strategic Strait of Hormuz to the United States and its allies if they “threaten” the Islamic Republic, Iranian state media reported Wednesday.
The comments by Gen. Hossein Salami, carried on state television, follow a long history of both rhetoric and confrontation between Iran and the U.S. over the narrow strait, through which nearly a third of all oil traded by sea passes.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Monday criticized U.S. activities in the Persian Gulf. It’s unclear whether that signals any new Iranian concern over the strait or possible confrontation with the U.S. following Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers.
“Americans should learn from recent historical truths,” Salami said, likely referring to the January capture of 10 U.S. sailors who entered Iranian waters. The sailors were released less than a day later, though state TV aired footage of them on their knees with their hands on their heads.
“If the Americans and their regional allies want to pass through the Strait of Hormuz and threaten us, we will not allow any entry,” Salami said, without elaborating on what he and other leaders would consider a threat.