Foreign Ministry spokesman has downplayed the Bahraini foreign minister’s claim that Iran will not be allowed to close the Strait of Hormuz “even for a single day”, urging the Manama regime to “know its place” before making threats.
“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.
He then referred to Bahrain as a “tiny dependent country”, and advised its officials “to know their place when threatening those bigger than themselves.”
Mousavi made the comments after Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Aal-e Khalifah claimed Iran “will not be allowed to close for one day the Strait of Hormuz”.
In an interview in Paris with Asharq Al-Awsat, Sheikh Khalid lashed out at the Iran nuclear deal, claiming that it dealt with Tehran’s nuclear program but did not address its missile program and what he called its “interventions in regional countries”.
The US has vowed to cut Iran’s oil exports down to zero, prompting Tehran to warn that it will not allow any other country to export oil through the Strait of Hormuz if Tehran cannot sell its crude.
Last Sunday, Iran’s top military commander said Iran wants the strait — through which nearly one-third of all oil traded by sea passes — to remain open and secure, warning that the country will not allow anyone to destabilize the waters.
“As oil and commodities of other countries are passing through the Strait of Hormuz, ours are also moving through it,” said Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri.
Iran “will definitely confront anyone who attempts to destabilize the Strait of Hormuz, and if our crude is not to pass through the Strait of Hormuz, others’ [crude] will not pass either.”
The Iranian commander explained, “This does not mean [that we are going to] close the Strait of Hormuz. We do not intend to shut it unless the enemies’ hostile acts will leave us with no other option. We will be fully capable of closing it on that day.”
The US administration said in a statement on April 22 that buyers of Iranian oil must stop their purchases by May 1 or face sanctions. The move ended six months of waivers, which allowed Iran’s eight biggest buyers — Turkey, China, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan — to continue importing limited volumes.
The US also said Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) would “more than make up the oil flow difference” to make sure that global markets were not unsettled. The two OPEC members are close Washington allies and firmly back US President Donald Trump’s hostile Iran policy.
During in an interview with Al Jazeera, which is to be aired Saturday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Iran will “continue to sell” its crude oil and will seek customers.
“We will always remember those who worked with us during times of difficulty,” Zarif said.