Iran threatens to close Strait of Hormuz after US ends sanction waivers

A top Iranian naval commander  threatened on Monday to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz, in response to the US decision to end sanction waivers on Iranian oil imports, as Tehran fumed over the “illegal” move.

“If we are banned from using it, we will close it,” Gen. Ali Reza Tangsiri, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s navy, was quoted as saying by the semi-official Tasnim news agency.

The Trump administration said Monday that it would no longer exempt any countries from US sanctions if they continue to buy Iranian oil, stepping up pressure on Iran in a move that primarily affects the five remaining major importers: China, India, and US treaty allies: Japan, South Korea, and Turkey.

US President Donald Trump made the decision as part of the administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign on Iran that aims to eliminate all of its revenue from oil exports that the US says funds destabilizing activity throughout the Middle East and beyond.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi dismissed the US announcement Monday, arguing that American sanctions and their waivers were “worthless.”

“Given the fact that the sanctions are in principle illegal, the Islamic Republic of Iran basically considers the granted waivers for sanctions as worthless,” the official state Mehr news agency quoted him as having said.

Read More: Times of Israel