Iran threatens to close Strait of Hormuz if West imposes oil sanctions

The New York Times reports: Iran issued a blunt warning on Tuesday that it would block the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s most important oil transit point, if Western powers attempt to impose an embargo on Iranian petroleum exports in their campaign to isolate the country over its suspect nuclear energy program.

The warning, issued by Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi, came as Iran’s naval forces were in the midst of a 10-day war games exercise in a vast area of the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman. The Strait of Hormuz, a narrow passage that connects the Gulf of Oman to the Persian Gulf, is the route for one third of the world’s oil-tanker traffic.

“If Iran oil is banned not a single drop of oil will pass through Hormuz Strait,” Mr. Rahimi was quoted as saying by the official Islamic Republic News Agency at a conference in Tehran.

“We are not interested in any hostility,” he was quoted as saying. “Our motto is friendship and brotherhood, but Westerners are not willing to abandon their plots.”

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