The commander of the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet says the United States will not allow Iran to shut down a key oil supply route in the Persian Gulf.
Vice Admiral Kevin Cosgriff Monday told reporters in Bahrain that Iran will not shut the Strait of Hormuz. The strait is a strategic outlet for oil tankers leaving the Persian Gulf.
Cosgriff leads U.S. naval forces in the Middle East and Horn of Africa.
Last week, the head of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards, General Mohammad Ali Jafari, said Tehran will respond to an attack against it by striking Israel with missiles and closing the strait.
He said in an article in the conservative Iranian newspaper Jam-e-Jam Saturday there may also be retaliation by Iran's allies, which include the Lebanese-based militant group Hezbollah and the Palestinian militant group Hamas.
Earlier this month, The New York Times quoted U.S. officials as saying Israel conducted a simulated attack on Iran's atomic facilities.
According to the report, Israel conducted the exercise with more than 100 planes over the Mediterranean and Greece. Israeli officials declined comment on the report.
The United States and its allies accuse Iran of working to develop a nuclear weapon. Iran says its atomic program is for peaceful purposes.
Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AFP.