The spokeswoman said the US Navy is “always ready to counter malevolent actions to ensure freedom of navigation.”
With concern growing over a possible drop-off in Iranian oil supplies, a senior Saudi oil official said Gulf Arab nations are ready to offset any loss of Iranian crude.
That reassurance led to a drop in world oil prices. In New York, benchmark crude fell 77 cents to $100.57 a barrel in morning trading. Brent crude fell 82 cents to $108.45 a barrel in London.
Earlier today Iran’s navy chief warned that his country can easily close the strategic Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, the passageway through which a sixth of the world’s oil flows.
It was the second such warning in two days. On Tuesday, Vice President Mohamed Reza Rahimi threatened to close the strait, cutting off oil exports, if the West imposes sanctions on Iran’s oil shipments.
“Closing the Strait of Hormuz is very easy for Iranian naval forces,” Adm. Habibollah Sayyari told state-run Press TV. “Iran has comprehensive control over the strategic waterway,” the navy chief said.