The U.S. Navy said Iran's threat to block the strategically and economically important Strait of Hormuz is unacceptable.
"The free flow of goods and services through the Strait of Hormuz is vital to regional and global prosperity," Navy 5th Fleet in Bahrain spokeswoman Cmdr. Amy Derrick Frost told reporters on Wednesday.
"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 34-mile narrow shipping channel leads in and out of the Persian Gulf between Iran and Oman. It is strategically important because tankers carrying oil travel through it.FULL STORY
Across the Middle East and North Africa, CNN's reporters and iReporters are covering protests, many of them inspired by revolts in Tunisia and Egypt that toppled those countries' longtime rulers. Check out our story explaining the roots of the unrest in each country and full coverage of the situation in Libya. Have a story to tell from the scene? Click here to send an iReport. CNN's Fareed Zakaria breaks down what the movements toward democracy mean.
Developments on unrest in the Middle East and North Africa:
[LIBYA, 8:50 p.m. ET, 3:50 a.m. local] Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has criticized a resolution that the U.N. Security Council passed against his regime, telling private Serbian station Pink TV by phone that council members "took a decision based on media reports that are based abroad."
He added, "If the Security Council wants to know about something, they should have sent a fact-finding committee."
The resolution, passed over the weekend, includes an arms embargo, an asset freeze and travel bans for Gadhafi and members of his family and associates.
[GAZA, 3:41 p.m. ET, 10:41 p.m. local] A Palestinian militant was killed in east Gaza Sunday in an Israeli air strike, according to Palestinian medical and security officials. An Israel Defense Force spokeswoman denied that such an attack took place.
[EGYPT, 2:53 p.m. ET, 9:53 p.m. local] Officials say the Egypt Stock Exchange plans to open on Tuesday. The markets have been closed since January 27.
[LIBYA, 1:45 p.m. ET, 8:44 p.m. local] The British government said Sunday it is freezing the assets of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, members of his family, and those acting on their behalf.
[LIBYA, 9 a.m. ET, 4:15 p.m. local] Protests are picking up in Libya's western city of Zawiya with former security forces who said they have switched sides and joined the opposition. About 150 people rallied outside the town in support of Gadhafi later on Sunday, in what appeared to be a hastily organized demonstration. CNN later saw a second small pro-government rally that may have been organized for the benefit of international journalists. The crisis in Libya is affecting oil prices, and how much Americans pay at the pump. To better understand why, CNN gets an explanation from an oil analyst.
The United Nations Security Council unanimously approved a draft resolution to impose sanctions against Libya amid escalating attacks on anti-government protesters in the north African country.
The resolution draft includes an arms embargo, asset freeze and a travel ban. It also refers Libya to the International Criminal Court.
[YEMEN, 12:14 p.m. ET, 8:14 p.m. ET local] Thousands of people are protesting outside Sanaa University demanding that President Ali Abdullah Saleh resign. Representatives said the youth-dominated sit-in will not budge until he leaves. On Saturday, leaders of two prominent tribal groups, the Hashid-dominated National Solidarity Council and the Baqil tribe, said they would send members to join the protests calling for Saleh's resignation. Time magazine weighs in on how long the protests in Yemen might last.
[TUNISIA, 11 a.m. ET, 5:18 p.m. ET local] Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi's resignation Sunday came a day after three people were killed during protests in the capital, Tunis. "I am resigning today because I am not willing to be a person that takes decisions that could cause casualties," he told reporters Sunday. He also questioned "why a lot of people considered their main target to keep attacking the government, although a lot of its members agreed to join in this critical time."
[TUNISIA, 10 a.m. ET, 4:21 p.m. local] The prime minister of Tunisia has stepped down from the interim government, according to the country's official news agency.
[OMAN, 9 a.m. ET, 6:10 a.m. local] At least two protesters were killed and about 10 injured during clashes between protesters and police in the Omani industrial town of Sohar, according to reports from state media and Oman TV editor Asma Rshid. "The police shot them because they burned shops and cars in Sohar," Rshid said. Another source said police fired rubber bullets. A number of police had also reportedly been injured, but CNN has not been able to confirm how many.
[TUNISIA, 9:12 p.m. ET, 3:12 a.m. local] Protests in Tunisia turned violent and deadly Saturday, just over six weeks after a popular uprising forced the president out of office, and lit a spark of desire for democratic reform in parts of Africa and the Middle East.
Three people were killed Saturday and nine others injured during mayhem in the capital, Tunis, according to a Interior Ministry statement cited by the state-run news agency, Tunis Afrique Presse (TAP).
More than 100 people were arrested, the ministry said, in the area around Habib Bourguiba Avenue, in the city's center, accused of "acts of destruction and burning."
[LIBYA, 4:58 p.m. ET, 11:58 p.m. local] City councils in areas no longer loyal to Moammar Gadhafi have chosen former Justice Minister Mustafa Abdul Jalil to head an interim government which will represent all of Libya, according to Amal Bogagies, a member of the February 17 Uprising coalition, and a separate Libyan opposition source.
[LIBYA, 4:40 p.m. ET, 11:40 p.m. local] President Barack Obama, in a statement issued Saturday after reports that forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi had fired on civilians, said "that when a leader's only means of staying in power is to use mass violence against his own people, he has lost the legitimacy to rule and needs to do what is right for his country by leaving now."
The White House statement was issued after Obama spoke with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
[BAHRAIN, 9:37 a.m. ET, 5:37 p.m. local] Exiled opposition leader Hassan Mushaima has arrived back in Manama, Bahrain. Mushaima, leader of the Haq Movement, had told followers earlier in the week that he had been detained in Beirut, Lebanon.
[YEMEN, 2 a.m. ET, 10 a.m. local] Four people were killed and 26 wounded in clashes Friday night between anti-government protesters and security forces in southern Yemen, medical officials in Aden said Saturday.
An oil tanker was hijacked on Wednesday in the North Arabian Sea, the European Union Naval Force said.
The Greek ship Irene S.L. was boarded by armed men around midday 200 miles off the coast of Oman in the Indian Ocean, according to the Greek Merchant Marine Ministry. The ship was carrying 266,000 tons of crude oil and 25 crew members, George Tsapras, press officer for the ministry, told CNN.
Neither the ministry nor the ship's management company, Enesel S.A., has successfully communicated with the ship since the hijacking.
WikiLeaks, a whistle-blowing website known for leaking state secrets, released on Sunday its latest batch of controversial documents. It has posted the first of what it says will be more than 250,000 secret U.S. diplomatic cables.
[Updated at 10:14 p.m.]
- Ecuador has asked WikiLeaks founder and editor-in-chief Julian Assange to come to Quito and discuss documents regarding Ecuador and other Latin American countries. Ecuador expelled two U.S. diplomats in February 2009, accusing them of meddling in its internal affairs - allegations the State Department denied. The foreign ministry in Quito suggested Assange, an Australian citizen, apply for residency there.
- WikiLeaks documents posted on the websites of the Guardian and the New York Times suggest China is losing patience with its long-time ally North Korea, with senior figures in Beijing describing the regime in the North as behaving like a "spoiled child." According to cables obtained by WikiLeaks and cited by the Guardian, South Korea's vice-foreign minister Chun Yung-woo said he had been told by two senior Chinese officials (whose names are redacted in the cables) that they believed Korea should be reunified under Seoul's control, and that this view was gaining ground with the leadership in Beijing.
- The world's military shopping list is being exposed through the WikiLeaks publications. State-of-the-art missiles and American military helicopters are a frequent topic of discussion in the released diplomatic cables, which also show a keen interest in what weaponry Iran has and how to defend against them.
- From 2005 to 2009, U.S. diplomats regularly reported that Brazil tried to distance itself from what it saw as an "overly aggressive" American war on terror, and was highly sensitive highly to public claims suggesting that terrorist organizations have a presence in the country, according to cables released by WikiLeaks. But Brazil's counter-terrorism policy seemed to shift in 2009, with a cable detailing the government's strategy to deter terrorists from "using Brazilian territory to facilitate attacks or raise funds."
- Former President George W. Bush told a forum at Facebook's headquarters Monday that the document leak is "very damaging," adding that it may significantly hurt Washington's image abroad. "It's going to be very hard to keep the trust of foreign leaders," the nation's 43rd president said. "If you have a conversation with a foreign leader and it ends up in a newspaper, you don't like it. I didn't like it."
Here's a look at the leak, an overview of how WikiLeaks works and a summary of what some of the documents say about a variety of topics.
- Sunday's leak contained the first of what the site says will be 251,288 cables that it plans to release piecemeal in the coming weeks or months.
Freed American hiker Sarah Shourd thanked the Omani people Saturday for helping secure her release from Iran, saying that she will associate Oman with her "first breath of freedom."
Addressing journalists before leaving Oman to return home to the United States, Shourd said she hoped her fiance, Shane Bauer, and her friend Josh Fattal, still jailed in a Tehran prison, will soon be free.