Iran will respond firmly to any Israeli naval action against its oil shipments, Iran’s defense minister said on Wednesday, in comments that came a week after Israel’s prime minister said its navy could act against Iranian oil “smuggling” to evade U.S. sanctions, ONA reports citing Reuters.
Hatami said such confrontation would be considered as “piracy” and warned that “if it happens, we will firmly respond.”
“The Iranian armed forces have certainly the capabilities to protect the country’s shipping lines in the best way against any possible threat,” Hatami said.
According to maritime experts, Iran has used a variety of measures to evade sanctions, including changing the names of ships or flag registries, switching off location transponders on ships and conducting ship-to-ship transfers offshore and away from large trade hubs.
Iran’s navy has extended its reach in recent years, dispatching vessels to the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden. They intervened on Friday to repel pirates who attacked an Iranian oil tanker in the Gulf of Aden.