US warships cross Hormuz despite Iran threats

Last Updated: Friday, December 30, 2011 - 13:09

Washington: Two American warships have
crossed through the Strait of Hormuz without incident despite
Iranian threats to close the strategic oil route, the US Navy
said on Friday.

The aircraft carrier USS John C Stennis and the
guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay "conducted a
pre-planned, routine transit through the Strait of Hormuz" on
Tuesday, said Fifth Fleet spokeswoman Lieutenant Rebecca
Rebarich.

The US military reported no friction with Iran`s naval
forces after Iranian leaders warned of possibly shutting down
the vital strait if the West went ahead with more punitive
sanctions over its suspect nuclear programme.

"Our interaction with the regular Iranian Navy continues
to be within the standards of maritime practice, well-known,
routine and professional," Rebarich said in an email from
Fifth Fleet headquarters in Bahrain.

The US warships paid a visit to the port of Jebel Ali in
the United Arab Emirates before travelling through the strait
to the Arabian Sea, where the vessels will provide air power
for NATO-led forces in Afghanistan, she said.

In response to Tehran`s threats, the US military said
Wednesday that any attempt to disrupt shipping in the Strait
of Hormuz would not be tolerated.

The US aircraft carrier and cruiser made their through the
narrow channel as Iran`s navy was carrying out war games to
the east of the Strait of Hormuz in a show of military might.
Iran`s navy commander, Admiral Habibollah Sayari, said the
aircraft carrier was monitored as it passed through the strait
to the Gulf of Oman, according to Iranian state television.

The strait is a choke point at the entrance to the Gulf
through which more than a third of the world`s tanker-borne
oil passes.

Although Iran could lay mines to disrupt shipping through
the narrow channel, Tehran relies on the route for its own oil
exports and analysts say the Islamic republic is unlikely to
take such drastic steps.

PTI



First Published: Friday, December 30, 2011 - 13:09

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