US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey said. Iran has the ability to block the Strait of Hormuz “for a period of time,” and the U.S. would take action to reopen it.
Dempsey said in an interview that, “They’ve invested in capabilities that could, in fact, for a period of time block the Strait of Hormuz, We’ve invested in capabilities to ensure that if that happens, we can defeat that.”
Blocking the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic shipping lane linking the Gulf of Oman with the Persian Gulf, would constitute a “red line” for the U.S., as would Iranian efforts to build a nuclear weapon, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on the same program.
Iran threatened last month to shut the Strait of Hormuz, a transit point for a fifth of oil traded worldwide, if sanctions are imposed on its crude exports.
Iran held 10 days of naval maneuvers east of the strait ending Jan. 3. The country plans even bigger military maneuvers in the area next month, the state-run Fars news agency reported on Jan. 5.
U.S. sanctions imposed last year seek to cut off dealings with Iran’s banking system, making it difficult for consumers to buy the country’s oil.