Iran Warns Region Against Dangerous’ Stance on Strait of Hormuz

Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Saleh says Iran has never tried to close Hormuz; U.S. defense secretary said Wednesday U.S. military is fully prepared to deal with Iran threats to close it.

Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said on Thursday that Tehran had never tried to block the Strait of Hormuz but warned its neighbors against putting themselves in a "dangerous position."

"We want peace and tranquility in the region, but some of the countries in our region, they want to direct other countries 12,000 miles away from this region. I repeat that Iran has never tried to hinder this important route," Salehi, in Turkey on a visit, told Turkey's NTV broadcaster.

Iran-Turkey - Reuters - January 5, 2012

"I am calling to all countries in the region, please don't let yourselves be dragged into a dangerous position."

Salehi added the United States should express it is open for negotiations with Tehran without conditions, referring to a letter Iran says it has received from the U.S. government about the Strait of Hormuz situation.

On Wednesday, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said that the U.S. military is fully prepared to deal with any threats by Iran to close the Strait of Hormuz, adding that no "special steps" were being taken at this point to bolster American forces in the region.

Asked at a Pentagon news briefing whether Iran's threats had prompted a repositioning of U.S. forces in the region, Panetta said: "We are not [taking] any special steps at this point in order to deal with the situation."