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Iran declares full control of Persian Gulf, condemns US ‘alien presence’

Navy of the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution commandos in the Strait of Hormuz, Persian Gulf. Feb. 2015. (sayyed shahab-o- din vajedi/Wikimedia Commons)
August 27, 2018

After months of tensions, Iran has lashed out again over the presence of the U.S. in the Persian Gulf.

General Alireza Tangsiri, head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), said the U.S. Navy does not belong in the Gulf or the Strait of Hormuz, where Iran has complete control, Reuters reported Monday, citing Tasnim news agency.

“We can ensure the security of the Persian Gulf and there is no need for the presence of aliens like the U.S. and the countries whose home is not in here,” he said.

“All the carriers and military and non-military ships will be controlled and there is full supervision over the Persian Gulf. Our presence in the region is physical and constant and night and day,” Tangsiri added.

Iran has threatened military action and closing the Strait of Hormuz if the U.S. continues carrying out sanctions and persuading other countries to do the same. The Strait serves as the world’s busiest shipping channel for oil, as 18 million barrels of oil pass through each day.

The U.S. has been monitoring the Strait of Hormuz following Iran’s large-scale naval exercise held in early August. The exercise included 100 Iranian vessels and was carried out earlier in the year than past exercises, which some say was a means of intimidating the U.S.

U.S. Army General Joseph Votel said: “I think it’s pretty clear to us that they were trying to use that exercise to send a message to us that as we approach the period of the sanctions here that they have some capabilities.”

Votel added that the exercise was a response to the latest sanctions imposed on Iran by the U.S. Iran’s military capabilities were noted by the U.S., prompting closer monitoring efforts with a more frequent presence in the Persian Gulf.

Officials have said the goal of the U.S. is to continue sanctions against Iran until their oil exports drop to “zero.” This has angered Iranian officials, who have separately made numerous threats against the U.S. in response.

Last month,  a special forces general in the IRGC, Qassem Soleimani, posted a photo on social media depicting the White House exploding behind him, along with the caption, “We will crush the USA under our feet.”

The head of the IRGC, Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, said Iran would prevail over enemies in conflict. “The enemies are strictly avoiding any conflict with Iran because they know that it will not be beneficial for them,” he said.

Iran also recently released a new fighter jet, which it claims will counter U.S. aggression, and vowed to boost the Iranian military. Iranian President Hassan Rohani said: “The enemy should see how expensive an invasion of Iran would be.” He added, “Why does not the U.S. wage a military attack on us? Because of our power, because it knows the consequences.”

Despite all of the threats issued by the IRGC generals and other officials, Rohani insists Iran wants to maintain peace, only using its military as a deterrent against conflict.