Iran advises Bahrain not to talk big

May 4, 2019

TEHRAN – The Iranian Foreign Ministry on Friday responded to remarks by the Bahraini foreign minister who had claimed Iran will not be allowed to close the Strait of Hormuz “even for a single day”, asking Bahrain to “know its place” before threatening others.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran underlines the security of the Strait of Hormuz as a lifeline for the supply and transit of global energy, so long as the Iranian nation’s interests are secured through the important and vital strait,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi, according to Press TV.

Calling Bahrain a “tiny dependent country”, Mousavi said Iran as a show of “goodwill” and respect for neighbors advises officials in Manama “to know their place when threatening those bigger than themselves.”

Mousavi made the comments after Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifah claimed Iran “will not be allowed to close for one day the Strait of Hormuz”.

Mousavi likened the tiny island of Bahrain to a “fly” which cannot withstand Iran which is like an “eagle”.

“Centuries ago Persian scholars have said: How can a fly topple an eagle,” Mousavi stated.

In an interview in Paris with Asharq Al-Awsat, Sheikh Khalid said the 2015 nuclear deal addressed Tehran’s nuclear program but did not address its missile program and what he called its “interventions in regional countries”.

The U.S. has vowed to zero out Iran’s oil exports, prompting Tehran to warn that it will not allow any other country to export oil through the Strait of Hormuz if Tehran cannot sell its crude.

On April 28, Iran’s military chief said Tehran wants the strait — through which nearly one-third of all oil traded by sea passes — to remain open and secure, warning that the country will not allow anyone to destabilize the Persian Gulf.

“As oil and commodities of other countries are passing through the Strait of Hormuz, ours are also moving through it,” said Major General Mohammad Baqeri, Armed Forces chief of staff.

Iran “will definitely confront anyone who attempts to destabilize the Strait of Hormuz, and if our crude is not to pass through the Strait of Hormuz, others' [crude] will not pass either.”

The top general added, “This does not mean [that we are going to] close the Strait of Hormuz. We do not intend to shut it unless the enemies’ hostile acts will leave us with no other option. We will be fully capable of closing it on that day.”

The U.S. said in a statement on April 22 that buyers of Iranian oil must stop their purchases by May 1 or face sanctions. The move ended six months of waivers, which allowed Iran’s eight biggest buyers -- Turkey, China, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan -- to continue importing limited volumes.

The U.S. also said Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) would "more than make up the oil flow difference" to make sure that global markets were not unsettled. The two OPEC members are Washington’s close allies and firmly back U.S. President Donald Trump's hostile acts against Iran.

During in an interview with Al Jazeera, which is to be aired Saturday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Iran will “continue to sell” its crude oil and will seek customers.
Zarif added, “We will always remember those who worked with us during times of difficulty.”

PA/PA

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