The United States has warned that it would not tolerate any attempt by Iran to close the Strait of Hormuz, the world's most important oil shipping lane.

"The free flow of goods and services through the Strait of Hormuz is vital to regional and global prosperity," The Telegraph quoted a spokeswoman for the US Navy''s Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet, as saying. 

"Anyone who threatens to disrupt freedom of navigation in an international strait is clearly outside the community of nations; any disruption will not be tolerated," the spokeswoman added. 

The statement came in response to threats by Iran to shut the channel if the West continues imposing sanctions on the Islamic regime's oil industry. 

Mohammed Reza Rahimi, Iran''s vice-president recently told state media that if sanctions are adopted against Iranian oil, not a drop of oil will pass through the Strait of Hormuz, adding, "Our enemies will only abandon their plots when we give them a strong lesson."

Admiral Habibollah Sayari, commander of the Iranian navy, said that closing the Strait, and effectively strangling the global oil supply, would "be easier than drinking a glass of water". 

His comments came as the Iranian fleet continued a 10-day naval drill in international waters near the Strait involving ships, helicopters, submarines and hovercraft.