Iran on Thursday rejected a US warning against closing the strategic Strait of Hormuz, with a Revolutionary Guards commander saying "our response to threats is threats."
"We have no doubt about our being able to carry out defensive strategies to protect our vital interests -- we will act more decisively than ever," said the Guards' deputy commander, Brigadier General Hossein Salami, quoted by Fars news agency.
His comments came a day after the US Defence Department warned that "interference with the transit... of vessels through the Strait of Hormuz will not be tolerated."
The US message was in reply to Iranian Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi saying this week that "not a drop of oil will pass through the Strait of Hormuz" if the West broadened sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme.
The Iranian navy commander, Admiral Habibollah Sayari, backed that up by saying it would be "really easy" to close the strait, through which more than a third of the world's ship-borne oil passes.