Iran: We 'can block oil exports whenever necessary'
The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps announced that the military controls much of the Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman.
"Iran can block oil export whenever necessary," IRGC Air Force commander Gen. Hosein Salami said. "This is a natural ability of our country." READ MORE
In a television interview on April 4, Salami said Iran controls 2,000 kilometers of the coast of the Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman. He said Teheran has developed a long-range missile capability that could be employed to protect Iranian interests in the region.
"Although the weapons we manufacture are long-range, they are not meant for the population or countries of the region, nor for any other country, unless it is a country that poses a threat to us," Salami said in remarks translated by the Washington-based Middle East Media Research Institute. "We believe that as Iran's deterrence capability in the region increases, the ability to make threats decreases. Since our weapons are for deterrent purposes, they prevent war."
The IRGC has also reported the production of long-range missiles to strike target regional rivals.
Iran has indicated that it would retaliate against any U.S. attack by disrupting oil shipments through the Straits of Hormuz. The straits, 54 kilometers wide, contains 80 percent of the global oil trade.
In an assertion disputed by Western analysts, Salami said Iran could easily block the Straits of Hormuz without advanced missiles. He cited the abilities of the IRGC navy and other military arms.
On April 6, Iran completed the Holy Prophet exercise, meant to test the military's control of the Gulf region. During the week-long exercise, Iran reported the development of several missiles and an amphibious aircraft.
"Iran controls over 2,000 kilometers of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman," Salami said. "Even without this maneuver Iran has this ability."
Former Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani said Iran was no longer dependent on foreign suppliers for basic weapons. Shamkhani told Iranian television on March 21 that Iran could mass produce the Shihab-3 intermediate-range ballistic missile.
"Today, we have the capability to produce missiles like candy," Shamkhani said. "This capability is 100 times greater than we had even in the early days of the [Iran-Iraq] war ..."