A top Iranian military official has threatened to block the United States’ free passage through a crucial international shipping lane in the Persian Gulf, according to recent comments in which the commander insisted, "We have no other enemy in the region except for America."
Hossein Salami, deputy commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, warned in a recent Persian-language interview that the Islamic Republic would not hesitate to block U.S. entry to the Strait of Hormuz, which is the only passage from the Persian Gulf to the open seas.
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Salami claimed that the U.S. military fears Iran’s navy, which recently has bolstered forces to directly combat American forces in the region.
"The [Americans] believe that our navy is dangerous. Indeed, that is true," Salami was quoted as saying in a Farsi-language interview with Iranian state-controlled television that was subsequently translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute, which monitors regional reports.
"In my view, this is the first time that the Americans have assessed the might of our navy correctly," Salami continued. "If the Americans want to level threats against us, we can be very dangerous to them, as we have declared. They are aware of our tremendous might. We have increased and expanded our naval might, in order to overcome the military might of superpowers like America."
Salami went on to warn the United States and its allies that Iran is prepared to block the Strait of Hormuz, a move that could disrupt the international shipping of goods.
"We warn America, its partners, and its allies in the region that if they decide to use the language of threats against us, we will enforce the article on innocent passage in the 1982 U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, and we will prevent the passage of any ship or naval vessel that threatens us," he said. "If they threaten us, this is what will happen, and we will take whatever steps are necessary."
"After all," Salami added, "we have no other enemy in the region except for America. The other countries and governments are not our enemies, and we are not theirs. Of course, they do not even have the potential to be our enemy."