Dec. 29 - As Iran threatens to block oil in the Strait of Hormuz, the U.S. announces a fighter jet sale to Saudi Arabia. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
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Iran is conducting a series of naval exercises in the Strait of Hormuz in a show of force.
Tehran is now threatening to stop the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz following the European Union's decision to tighten sanctions over Iran's nuclear program.
Iran's navy chief says shutting off the Gulf and blocking crude shipments would be "easy".
(SOUNDBITE) (Farsi) IRANIAN NAVY COMMANDER, HABIBULAH SAYARI, SAYING:
"Today, closing the Strait of Hormuz for Iran's armed forces is really easy, or as the Iranians say - it will be easier than drinking a glass of water."
The U.S. Fifth Fleet said Wednesday it would not allow any disruption of traffic in the Strait of Hormuz, a strip of water separating Oman and Iran.
At the State Department Thursday Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland underscored that message.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) STATE DEPARTMENT THURSDAY SPOKESWOMAN VICTORIA NULAND, SAYING:
"I am not going to go any further on Hormuz, I think the navy spokeswoman spoke for all of us in expressing our expectation that the Strait will stay free and open for international navigation."
On Thursday the State Department also announced that it would sell close to 30 billion dollars in fighter jets to Saudi Arabia.
Both the United States and Saudi Arabia, which sees Iran as a significant potential threat, are worried over Iran's nuclear program
Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters.
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