A top general claimed Monday that Iran’s navy has taken full control of the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz—a major oil shipping route that Iranian officials have previously threatened to block in retaliation for any hostile U.S. action. The head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards navy, Gen. Alireza Tangsiri, made the claim, according to the Tasnim news agency, and declared that the U.S. does not belong in the region’s waters. “We can ensure the security of the Persian Gulf and there is no need for the presence of aliens like the U.S. and the countries whose home is not in here,” Tangsiri is quoted as saying by the news service. Relations between Iran and the U.S. have degenerated since President Donald Trump pulled out of a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers and reimposed economic sanctions that aim to cut off Iran’s oil shipments. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the most senior authority in the Islamic Republic, said last month that he supports the idea that if Iran is not allowed to export oil then no country in the region will be allowed to export oil from the Gulf.