Nation/World

In brief: Iran backs off talk of blocking strait

Tehran, Iran – Talk of blocking the strategic oil route through the Strait of Hormuz is a discussion of the past, a commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard said Saturday in comments that seemed to back away from an earlier threat. But he said Iran had other, unspecified strategies for reacting to any Western aggression.

“Discourse about closing the Strait of Hormuz belongs to five years ago. Today’s debate in the Islamic Republic of Iran contains new layers and the time has not come to raise it,” Gen. Masoud Jazayeri said in comments posted Saturday on the Guard’s website, sepahnews.com.

Jazayeri did not elaborate.

Vice President Mohamed Reza Rahimi threatened on Tuesday to close the strait, cutting off oil exports, if the West imposes sanctions on Iran’s oil shipments.

The U.S. has strongly warned Iran against closing the vital waterway, saying it won’t tolerate it.

Syrian opposition unites on future

Beirut – Syria’s two largest opposition groups signed an agreement on setting up a democracy if President Bashar Assad’s autocratic regime falls, opposition figures said Saturday.

The move is so far the most serious by the fractured opposition to unite against the regime and shows that Assad’s opponents will accept nothing less than his departure from power.

Burhan Ghalioun, leader of the Syrian National Council, and Haytham Manna of the National Coordination Body for Democratic Change in Syria, or NCB, signed the draft in Cairo on Friday night, according to an NCB statement and Omar Idilbi of the SNC.



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