View Full Version : U.S. Repeats It Will Not Allow Iran To Shut Key Oil Lane

07-03-2008, 09:53 AM
US repeats it will not allow Iran to shut key oil lane


21 hours ago

ABU DHABI (AFP) — The United States reassured oil-rich Arab allies on Wednesday that it was committed to the security of the Gulf and would not allow Iran to shut the strategic Strait of Hormuz to crude oil supplies.

"We are determined to contribute to maritime security... We will not allow Iran to close it," the commander of the US Navy's Fifth Fleet, Vice-Admiral Kevin J. Cosgriff, told Gulf navy chiefs.

His remarks to the navy chiefs of the six Gulf Cooperation Council members at a meeting in the United Arab Emirates on maritime security echoed comments he made on Monday in the Fifth Fleet's Bahrain base.

"They will not close it... They will not be allowed to close it," Cosgriff told reporters after the chief of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards, General Mohammad Ali Jafari, warned against any attack over his country's controversial nuclear drive.

"It is natural that when a country is attacked it uses all of its capabilities against the enemy, and definitely our control of the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz would be one of our actions," Jafari said last week.

The strait between Iran and Oman is a vital conduit for energy supplies, with as much as 40 percent of the world's crude passing through the waterway.

"Maritime security in the Middle East is a sine qua non of global economic stability and regional prosperity," Cosgriff told the navy chiefs from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, noting that the region sits on nearly 60 percent of global proven oil reserves.

"As much as one-third of the world's oil moving by sea travels through the Strait of Hormuz... That is approximately 25 million barrels per day... which translates to nearly three billion dollars in value," he said.

Cosgriff, nearing the end of his stint as Fifth Fleet commander, said Washington is committed to a long-term presence in the Gulf.

"The US Navy has been in the region for 60 years and will be here for decades to come," he said.

US President George W. Bush said on Wednesday he had not ruled out using force in the nuclear standoff with Iran, but emphasised that he preferred a diplomatic solution.

There has been a surge in speculation recently that Israel might be planning a military strike against Iranian nuclear sites after it emerged that the Jewish state had carried out practice runs.

Iran insists its atomic drive is entirely peaceful, but Western powers fear Tehran is using the programme to develop nuclear weapons.

Israel has the Middle East's sole if undeclared nuclear arsenal.