Iran on Wednesday threatened to stop the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz if foreign sanctions were imposed on its crude exports because of its nuclear ambitions.
Iran's navy chief warned that his country can easily close the strategic strait at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, the passageway through which a sixth of the world's oil flows.
"Closing Hormuz is very easy," Admiral Habibollah Sayyari told the state-run Press TV.
"We have comprehensive control over the strategic waterway," the navy chief said.
The Strait of Hormuz is an important waterway through which 40% of the world's seaborne oil transits. It links the Gulf, bordered by petroleum-rich states like Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, with Oman.
It was the second such warning in two days. On Tuesday, vice president Mohamed Reza Rahimi threatened to close the strait, cutting off oil exports, if the West imposes sanctions on Iran's oil shipments.
The US navy said Iran's threat to block Hormuz is unacceptable.
"Anyone who threatens to disrupt freedom of navigation in an international strait is clearly outside the community of nations," US Navy's spokeswoman Amy Derrick Frost said.