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Iran announces blockade of Strait of Hormuz and claims U.S. is complying

Special to WorldTribune.com

NICOSIA — In the first such claim, Iran said it was imposing a blockade on
unauthorized ships in the Strait of Hormuz.

A senior commander for Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps said all ships, including those from the
U.S. Navy, must undergo inspection before proceeding through the strait.

Iranian naval ships during exercises in the Strait of Hormuz in January. /AFP/Getty Images

“The alien vessels which enter the Persian Gulf via the Strait of Hormuz always provide the needed answers and information to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps units,” IRGC deputy navy commander Rear Adm. Alireza Tangsiri said.

In a statement on April 18, Tangsiri said IRGC was already enforcing the blockade of Hormuz. The officer said the U.S. Navy was submitting information before its ships, including an aircraft carrier, enter Hormuz.

“This vessel, similar to the other warships, answered all the questions
asked by the IRGC Navy without any problem or making any particular move and then continued the path to its specified destination,” Tangsiri said.

In mid-April, the U.S. Navy deployed a second aircraft carrier in the
Gulf. The USS Enterprise, based in the Gulf Cooperation Council sheikdom of
Bahrain, joined the Abraham Lincoln in what the navy termed a routine
deployment in the region.

Later, another senior Iranian commander confirmed Teheran’s policy.
Iranian Army commander Gen. Ataollah Salehi said the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet
was warned to stay away from unspecified areas in Hormuz.

“We have warned them before that some areas in the Persian Gulf are
considered by us as zones of threat and they should not stop in those
areas,” Salehi said. “Of course, they have paid attention to the warning and
are respecting it.”

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