Iran Promises to Guarantee Gulf Security, Urges US Forces to Leave

Saudis call for world to collectively secure regional shipping lanes

Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih called on the world’s nations to unite in defending regional shipping lanes, in particular through the Strait of Hormuz, suggesting it was up to the world to ensure safe supplies of energy out of the Middle East.

The Saudis are keen to drum up world hostility toward Iran, and are emphasizing this because of the recent attacks on tankers in the Gulf of Oman. So far no ship has been sunk, and Iran is downplaying the idea that there is any real threat here.

One Iranian security official says that historically Iran has always been responsible for security in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, and that they’ll continue to do so. He added that there was no reason for the US to keep so many forces in the region, saying they only add to questions about regional instability.

Iranian Armed Forces Chief Maj. Gen. Mohammad Baqeri was also quoted as saying Iran is not making any efforts to try to disrupt traffic in the region. He added that if Iran decided to block the Strait of Hormuz, they would do so “fully and publicly.”

While the Saudis have a substantial interest in the Strait remaining open, the reality is that the narrow span is between Iranian and Omani territory, and it is so narrow that the Iranians really could substantially cut off traffic there from shore, even without using their navy.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.