US warns Iran not to block oil route
Washington - The United States warned Iran on Wednesday against any attempt to disrupt shipping in the Strait of Hormuz, after Tehran issued threats over the vital oil route.
"Interference with the transit... of vessels through the Strait of Hormuz will not be tolerated," said Pentagon press secretary George Little.
Iran's Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi threatened to close the strait if the West imposed more sanctions on Iran as the country's navy held exercises in international waters to the east of the channel.
To increase pressure on Iran over its disputed nuclear program, the United States and the European Union are weighing new sanctions against Tehran's oil and financial sectors.
"The Iranians conduct exercises on a fairly routine basis in this area. That's something that we know about," Little said.
"That being said any effort to raise the temperature on tensions surrounding the Strait of Hormuz is unhelpful," he said.
He added there was no sign of Iran taking provocative steps near the channel.
"I'm unaware of any aggressive hostile action directed toward US vessels in the Persian Gulf or the Strait of Hormuz," or against other ships, Little said.