“Iran’s armed forces … are prepared today as in the past to protect our fleet of oil tankers against any threats so that it can continue to use marine waterways,” Rear-Admiral Mahmoud Mousavi, deputy commander of Iran’s Army, said on November 12 onbviously hinting to the US sanctions imposed on Iran’s energy sales.
Mousavi said that hindering Iran’s transportation and trade through international waterways is “unacceptable” He emphasized that Irainan forces are prepared to “to protect our commercial fleet … as they have in the past 40 years.”
The statement followed remarks by Brian Hook, the US special representative for Iran. He warned Iran’s business partners to “rethink” their “decision” to buy Iranian oil in the wake of Washington’s “toughest” sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
“From the Suez Canal to the Strait of Malacca and all choke-points in between, Iranian tankers are a floating liability,” Hook stated during a press conference on November 7. “Self-insured Iranian tankers are a risk to the ports that permit them to dock [and] the canals that allow them to transit.”
He threatened countries and port operators with possible US penalties for facilitating Iranian ships’ access to international waterways and port facilities.