By Elise Labott
The U.S. used multiple means of reaching out to Iran in response to the threat to blockade the Strait of Hormuz, a critical transit point for one fifth of the world's oil.
Among those messages, Washington sent a rare letter to the Iranian government, delivered by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice to Ambassador Mohammad Khazayee, Iran’s permanent representative at the UN, according to a U.S. official who would only speak on the condition of anonymity. The official would provide no further details
Iranian media quoted Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parast who said Iran is studying the letter and "will respond if necessary."
In addition, as reported previously, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta publicly warned Tehran against such a move last Thursday, threatening to “respond” if Iran attempts to shut down traffic. The US also sent diplomatic messages through Switzerland, its protecting power in the country and Iraqi President Jalal Talibani.
The messages came as tensions in the region continued to escalate. On Friday, the Navy and Coast Guard released video of two incidents on January 6th when Iranian boats came extremely close to U.S. vessels.