The commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard navy has said that if Iran is not allowed to export its oil through the Hormuz Strait, it would close the vital shipping route.
Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri told Iran’s Arabic TV channel Al-Alam early on April 22, “The Hormuz Strait, based on law is an international shipping route and if we are banned from using it, we will close it”.
Tangsiri might have been referring to reports since April 21 that the United States might not renew sanctions’ exemptions earlier granted to allies to buy Iranian oil. Current exemptions or waivers run out at the end of April and countries such as Japan and South Korea would be affected.
The United States designated the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) as a “Foreign Terrorist Organization” on April 8.
The Strait of Hormuz, which connects the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, is the only waterway linking the Gulf to the open sea. With 20 percent of the world’s petroleum passing through the strait, it is key to the global oil supply chain. The strait has been the site of repeated standoffs between Iran and the United States.
Iranian oil exports have more than halved since the U.S. imposed sanctions on Iran’s exports in November 2018.
Earlier in February Tangsiri had also threatened to close Hormuz, if Iran’s oil exports dropped to zero.
U.S. administration officials have repeatedly said that their aim is to bring down Iran’s oil exports to zero to pressure Tehran to change its behavior.