Iranian officials have been warning that the country may close the strategic Strait of Hormuz if its security is threatened, as tensions between Tehran and Washington have escalated amid US threats to bring Iranian oil exports down “to zero”. Bahrain, an island kingdom in the Persian Gulf, is known as the banking hub of the region.
A spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry has been swift to downplay a claim from the Bahraini foreign minister that Iran will not be allowed to close the Strait of Hormuz “even for a single day”, brushing aside Bahrain, which has a population of less than 1.5 million, as a “tiny dependent country”, whose officials should “know their place when threatening those bigger than themselves”.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran underlines the security of the Strait of Hormuz as a lifeline for the supply and transit of global energy, so long as the Iranian nation’s interests are secured through the important and vital strait,” Seyyed Abbas Mousavi said Friday.
Mousavi was responding to a statement by Bahrain’s Foreign Minister in a Paris interview with Asharq Al-Awsat; Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifah claimed Iran “will not be allowed to close for one day the Strait of Hormuz”.
Sheikh Khalid also proceeded to lash out at the Iran nuclear deal, claiming that it dealt with Tehran’s nuclear programme but did not address its missile programme and what he branded “interventions in regional countries”. Bahrain is a member of the Saudi-dominated Gulf Cooperation Council.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif toured the US last week with appearances on US media and meetings with policy experts about the dangers of another war in the Middle East.Speaking to journalists, Zarif dismissed the likelihood of imminent war between Iran and the US, but didn’t exclude the possibility of some “accident” ‘spiralling’ into a military conflict.
In a Fox News interview, Iran’s foreign minister said he felt President Donald Trump personally had no interest in war, but some of his officials and US allies were interested in “dragging the United States into a conflict”.
Iran's Foreign Minister Zarif tells Chris a group of U.S. and Mideast officials are trying to drag the U.S. into conflict with Iran. Watch the full interview with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Sunday.
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In a separate event last week, Zarif warned that Iran would continue selling its oil abroad despite US threats and warned that Washington should prepare to face the “consequences” of trying to prevent Iran from selling its oil.