‘No Hormuz passage’: Iran's navy highly dangerous to US, top general warns

Iranian naval ships. © Jamejamonline / Ebrahim Norouzi
Iranian naval forces are strong and can counter any opponent, including the US, if a conflict arises over the strategic Strait of Hormuz, a senior general warned.

“We have developed a powerful Navy in the IRGC and the Armed Forces, capable of defending the country’s interests and independence,” said Brigadier General Hossein Salami, the Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), in a televised broadcast Tuesday.

He said last year's incident in which 10 US sailors were arrested after straying into Iranian territorial waters and released through diplomatic channels proved that the Americans respected the strength of the Iranian forces.

General Salami added that Iran would be in its right to defend from possible hostile actions by the US in the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic waterway through which a significant part of the world oil trade is conducted.

Citing the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), he said “we have to counter any harmful and ill-intended passage through Strait of Hormuz.”

“We warn the US and its allies against any threatening passage through Hormuz, for if it ever happens, we will have no other choice but act according to the 1982 Convention,” he said, as quoted by Mehr news agency.

He specifically warned against any opposition to Iranian military drills, which it conducts on regular basis.

“This is our lawful right,” he said. “We will not allow any power or country to make decisions in regard to our defense measures and deterrent exercises.”

Washington and Tehran are at an odd point in their long-strained relations at the moment. Last year their relations became somewhat warmer after striking a deal, under which Iran abandoned parts of its nuclear industry in return for relief of international sanctions.

The tension has since been ratcheted up. Washington is accusing Iran of developing rocket technologies in violation of UN Security Council resolutions, an allegation that Tehran denies. Iran for its part is accusing the US of stalling the lifting of sanctions it had imposed on its banking sector, which it was supposed to lift under the nuclear deal.