US won’t let Iran close Strait of Hormuz: Panetta
Washington: The US on Wednesday warned Iran from attempting to close down the crucial Strait of Hormuz, asserting that it has invested enough in the region to "defeat" any such move by Tehran and its servants.
"The Iranians need to understand that the United States and the international community are going to hold them directly responsible for any disruption of shipping in that region by Iran or for that matter by its servants," the US Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, said here at a joint news conference with his British counterpart, Phillip Hammond.
"The United States is fully prepared for all contingencies ... We've invested in capabilities to ensure that the Iranian attempt to close down shipping in the Gulf is something that we are going to be able to defeat if they make that decision to do that," Panetta asserted.
Panetta said he and Hammond discussed the "destabilising behaviour" of Iran during their breakfast meeting.
"The events of this week in the Gulf demonstrate the tense situation that we face there. I can reaffirm our commitment to play our part in maintaining freedom of navigation in the international waters of the Gulf and the Straits of Hormuz.
I said before here in Washington in January that any attempt by Iran to close the Straits would be illegal and the international community will not allow it to happen," Hammond said in his remarks.
In response to a question, Hammond said, UK will continue working with United States and others in this regard.
"We are determined to work as part of the international community effort to ensure freedom of passage in the international waters of the Straits of Hormuz."
Yesterday Iran had cautioned the international community against meddling in the region and said it will endanger security of global energy supply.
An estimated 40 per cent of the world's oil supply passes through the waterway.