US 5th Fleet won't allow disruption in Hormuz

By REUTERS
December 28, 2011 17:56

Statement comes in response to Iranian warning that it will close the strait in case of oil sanctions.

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Iran's navy commander Sayari

Iran's navy commander Sayari 311 R. (photo credit: REUTERS/Fars News)

The US Fifth Fleet said on Wednesday that it will not allow any disruption of traffic in the Strait of Hormuz "The free flow of goods and services through the Strait of Hormuz is vital to regional and global prosperity," a spokesperson for the Bahrain-based fleet said in a written response to queries from Reuters about the possibility of Iran trying to close the waterway.

The comments came in response to a warning made Tuesday by Iran's first vice-president that the flow of crude will be stopped from the crucial Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf if foreign sanctions are imposed on its oil exports. "If they (the West) impose sanctions on Iran's oil exports, then even one drop of oil cannot flow from the Strait of Hormuz," IRNA quoted Mohammad Reza Rahimi as saying.

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The US Fifth Fleet statement added that "anyone who threatens to disrupt freedom of navigation in an international strait is clearly outside the community of nations; any disruption will not be tolerated."

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Iranian threat


Asked whether it was taking specific measures in response to the threat to close the Strait, the fleet said that it "maintains a robust presence in the region to deter or counter destabilizing activities", without providing further detail.

Approximately one third of all sea-borne oil was shipped through the Strait in 2009, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). Most of the crude exported from Saudi Arabia, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Iraq - together with nearly all the liquefied natural gas from lead exporter Qatar - must slip through a 6.4 km wide shipping channel between Oman and Iran.


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