TEHRAN: Iran has the power to control the Gulf as no vessel can cross the vital seaway without coming in range of its sophisticated weaponry, a top aide to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Tuesday.
The comments from General Rahim Yahya Safavi came a day after the International Atomic Energy Agency accused Iran of stalling its investigation into the country's nuclear drive.
"Responsibility for defending the Persian Gulf has been handed over to the naval forces of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps," Yahya Safavi was quoted as saying by the official news agency IRNA.
Their missiles can cover the entire width of the Gulf and "no ship can cross it without being within range," the former commander-in-chief of the Guards told IRNA.
"Our armed forces with their defence equipment including missile, air, naval and torpedo capabilities are able to control the Strait of Hormuz."
An estimated 40 per cent of the world's oil passes through the narrow channel between Iran and Oman and Iran has warned in the past it could block the waterway if it comes under attack over its nuclear programme.
The Guards are also carrying out air defence war games along with the air force of the regular army, a commander was quoted as saying by IRNA on Monday.
The Revolutionary Guards form the country's ideological army, with their own ground, navy and air forces operating in parallel with the regular armed forces. They are also responsible for Iran's most significant and advanced ballistic missiles including the Shahab-3, which has Israel and US bases in the Gulf within reach.
Of a potential Israeli attack on Iran, Rahim Safavi said: "The Zionist regime does not have the necessary political, economic and social capabilities to wage a great war."
He also warned the US military force in the region saying they would face "serious danger" in case of war, but said he belived Washington "will definitely not get involved in a fourth front after the Afghanistan, Iraq and Georgia confrontations."
Tensions over Iran's nuclear work rose again on Monday after the IAEA said Tehran was defying international demands to suspend uranium enrichment, a process that makes nuclear fuel but can be diverted to make the fissile material for an atomic bomb.
6 months ago