Iran has warned that it will close the Strait of Hormuz, a vital oil trade route, if the United States does not step away from its plans to expand sanctions on the country’s nuclear program. Leaders continued to deny that they are trying to develop a nuclear weapon and boast that it would be “easy” to close the strait. U.S. Navy forces said they are ready to call Iran’s bluff. –ARK

BBC:

Reacting to Iran’s warning, a US Fifth Fleet spokeswoman said it was “always ready to counter malevolent actions”.

The Strait of Hormuz links the Gulf – and the oil-producing states of Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – to the Indian Ocean. About 40% of the world’s tanker-borne oil passes through it.

The US maintains a naval presence in the Gulf, largely to ensure the transport of oil remains open.

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