Iranian General Alireza Tangsiri, head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) naval forces, on August 27 told Tasnim News Agency that Iran has control of the Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz and warned the US Navy to not have a presence there.
His words raise tensions over the waterway which Tehran has suggested it might blockade to stop energy exports from Persian Gulf countries should the US sanctions policy of shutting down world markets to Iranian crude oil shipments, due to take effect from November 5, succeed. There are fears that oil prices could skyrocket towards $250/barrel should Iran follow through on the threat.
“We can ensure the security of the Persian Gulf and there is no need for the presence of aliens like the US and the countries whose home is not here,” the general reportedly said. “All the carriers and military and nonmilitary 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.”
Tasnim also quoted IRGC head Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, who said: “The enemies are strictly avoiding any conflict with Iran because they know that it will not be beneficial for them.”
Earlier in August, the top US general in the Middle East said the US military remains “extraordinarily vigilant” about Iranian movements in the Persian Gulf after an Iranian naval exercise near the Strait of Hormuz, which connects the Gulf to the Gulf of Oman and the open ocean.
US Central Command head General Joseph Votel said at the time that he believed the exercise was supposed to serve as a response to Washington over economic sanctions that have been reimposed on Iran.
“It’s pretty clear to us that they were trying to use that exercise to send a message to us that as we approach this period of the sanctions here that they had some capabilities,” Votel said at the time, according to Reuters.
Rouhani’s warning to Americans
Last month, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned that Americans “should know that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace, and war with Iran is the mother of all wars.”
Trump then appeared to respond to those comments in an all-caps tweet, telling the Iranian leader to "never, ever threaten the United States."
“NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE,” Trump wrote. “WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!”
Trump was then derided by senior Iranian military commander Qassem Suleimani. He squared up to the US president, mocking the threats he had made to Iran on Twitter, likening him to a gambler and nightclub owner, pouring scorn on the performance of US armed forces in Afghanistan and warning that the Red Sea region was no longer secure for the American military.