Iranian Defence Minister Amir Hatami yesterday warned that his country will respond "firmly" if the Israeli navy targeted Iranian oil shipments.
"Iran has the military capabilities to counter any Israeli intervention," Iran's IRNA news agency quoted Hatami as saying, adding that the international community would not accept this either.
Hatami said any confrontation would be considered "piracy", warning that "the Iranian armed forces have the necessary capability to protect the country's shipping lines in the best way against any possible threat."
The Iranian minister's warnings came a week after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that Iran was trying to circumvent the US sanctions imposed on it by smuggling oil into sea routes, adding that "as these attempts expand, the navy will have a more important role in efforts to block these Iranian actions".
Netanyahu called on the international community to stop Iranian attempts to smuggle oil by sea or any other route.