DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The U.S. military is reiterating a promise to keep Persian Gulf waterways open to oil tankers as Iran renewed threats to close off the region.
Capt. Bill Urban, a spokesman for the U.S. military’s Central Command, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that American sailors and its regional allies “stand ready to ensure the freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce wherever international law allows.”
Weighing U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear accord, President Donald Trump declared on Tuesday that if the Iranians “restart their nuclear program, they will have bigger problems than they’ve ever had before.”
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday suggested Iran could halt regional exports if it is stopped from exporting oil after America pulled out of the nuclear deal with world powers.
Meanwhile, Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani reportedly sent a letter to Rouhani applauding his stance.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson said the Navy remains on guard and wary of Iran in the Persian Gulf despite no recent signs of unsafe encounters.
Soleimani, the head of the Revolutionary Guard’s expeditionary Quds Force, said his forces were “ready for any policy.”