Iran’s Gen. Hossein Salami, the deputy commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, declared on Iranian state television Wednesday that the Islamic Republic will close the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic oil transport channel, to the United States if the U.S. chooses to “threaten” it.
“Americans should learn from recent historical truths,” Salami said, according to the Associated Press. He was likely referring to the January 12 hostage situation where ten U.S. sailors were captured on the Persian Gulf, near Farsi Island, in a show of aggression by the IRGC before being forced to issue an apology and subsequently released one day later.
The capture took place just days after the 37-year anniversary of Iran’s last shah being forced to flee his nation as the Revolution took hold and Ayatollah Khomeini took control.
Salami reportedly elaborated on what he considers a threat, saying, “If the Americans and their regional allies want to pass through the Strait of Hormuz and threaten us, we will not allow any entry,” adding, “Americans cannot make safe any part of the world.”
His remarks arrived shortly after Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei criticized America’s presence in the Persian Gulf, which is referred to as the Arabian Gulf, as the result of a naming dispute by those opposed to Iran’s growing hegemony in the region.
The U.S. Navy faces near-daily encounters with IRGC naval vessels in the waters.
The AP reports that on Wednesday, Iran filed a formal protest with the Swiss Embassy in Tehran over a resolution filed by Rep. J. Randy Forbes (R-VA), which referred to the body of water as the “Arabian Gulf” and objected to Iran’s actions there.
Forbes reportedly issued a corresponding statement that protests over the name are “indicative of Tehran’s aspirations to control the Straits of Hormuz and turn the Gulf into an Iranian lake.” He added that the United States Navy “is the only thing preventing that from happening, and that’s why Iran has been harassing our ships and sailors and trying to drive us out of the Gulf.”