The US Navy has said it will not allow one of the world’s most important oil trade routes to be disrupted, following a threat by Iran to stop ships passing through the Strait of Hormuz.
A spokesperson for the Fifth Fleet, based in Bahrain, said the free flow of goods and services through the channel was vital to regional and global prosperity.
About 40 percent of the world’s oil-tanker trade goes through the Strait of Hormuz, which links the numerous oil producing countries of the Gulf to the outside world.
Iran – which has been staging more naval exercises in international waters – has said it will close the Strait if the West imposes more sanctions.
Further measures are being considered against Tehran’s oil and financial sectors because of concern that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons.