(NEW YORK) — It is entirely up to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei to decide whether the Strait of Hormuz will be shut down, the head of his armed forces declared Sunday.
Major General Hassan Firouzabadi claimed that Tehran already has a plan in place to keep oil flowing from the waterway should the U.S. and Israel threaten its national security.
However, the military’s chief of staff maintained that “executing the plan needs the permission of the Supreme Leader.”
Firouzabadi’s comments came during a gathering of Iran’s vaunted Revolutionary Guard.
Iran has been saying for months that it would shut down the Strait of Hormuz where much of the world’s oil supplies are transported if the international community imposes tougher sanctions because of Tehran’s refusal to makes concessions on its nuclear program.
Despite the threat, the European Union went ahead with its embargo on Iranian oil two weeks ago, which will further hurt Tehran’s economy.
Firouzabadi emphasized, “We don’t want to block the Strait of Hormuz, but we have a plan for closing it, which is a clever and wise one.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Georgia McCafferty and Junko Ogura, CNN
Ralph Ellis and Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN