Ali Akbar Velayati
Source: Press TV
Advisor to the Leader of the Islamic Revolution on International Affairs says US President Barack Obama's recent letter to Iran about the Strait of Hormuz contains nothing new.
Asked whether the Islamic Republic intended to reply to the letter, Ali Akbar Velayati said on Monday that the answer to this question is with relevant authorities.
Answering another question about the possible imposition of Western oil sanctions against Iran, Velayati said, “Oil is not a commodity to be subjected to sanctions.”
“The Islamic Republic can easily sell its oil and the demand for Iranian oil has always been far greater than the country can supply,” he added.
Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast confirmed on Sunday that the US message has been sent to Iran via three different channels, including the US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice, the Swiss Ambassador to Tehran Livia Leu Agosti, and Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.
Mehmanparast said Iran was studying the letter and would respond if necessary.
Tensions between Tehran and Washington over the Strait of Hormuz escalated after the US and the European Union proposed sanctions against Iran's oil sector.
On December 27, Iran's First Vice President Mohammad-Reza Rahimi warned that imposing sanctions against the country's energy sector will prompt Tehran to prevent oil cargo from passing through the Strait of Hormuz.
“If they impose sanctions on Iran's oil, not even a drop of oil will be allowed through the Strait of Hormuz,” he warned.
Iran's Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari further reiterated on December 28 that Iran has complete command over the strategic waterway and that “closing the Strait of Hormuz is very easy for Iranian naval forces.”
Tensions further escalated when the Bahrain-based US Fifth Fleet responded by saying it would not “tolerate” any disruption in the Strait of Hormuz.
“[The fleet] maintains a robust presence in the region to deter or counter destabilizing activities," a spokesperson for the fleet said.
The Strait of Hormuz is a shipping route that leads in and out of the Persian Gulf between Iran and Oman.
Statistics-wise, the strait is one of the world's most important waterways, with a daily flow of about 15 million barrels of oil.