Iran Threatens Strait of Hormuz Closing Over EU Sanctions
Iran on Monday once again threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, in response to the European Union’s decision to impose harsher sanctions on the Islamic Republic, the British Telegraph reported.
“If any disruption happens regarding the sale of Iranian oil, the Strait of Hormuz will definitely be closed,” Mohammad Kossari, the deputy head of the Iranian parliament’s foreign affairs and national security committee, was quoted as having said.
The threat came after EU ambassadors agreed to slap an embargo on Iran’s oil exports, 90% of its foreign trade. The decision will go into effect after receiving formal approval from the EU’s foreign ministers.
The move is a last ditch attempt to punish Iran for its ongoing attempt to arm itself with nuclear weapons, and to dissuade it from going all the way with its program.
Sources in Brussels reported that the sanctions would introduce a gradual ban on buying Iranian oil and petrochemicals, and that EU members would have to halt imports completely by July 1, 2012. This will likely cause a steep rise in oil and its byproducts, making it a difficult decision during a period of economic straits for the EU.
Last week, Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations said that closing the Strait of Hormuz is an option “on the table” if the Islamic Republic “is threatened seriously and somebody wants to tighten the noose.”
The Islamic Republic made a similar threat last month as well. Both the United States and the United Kingdom responded with warnings that any attempt to close the waterway would be considered an act of war.
Despite Iran’s threats, however, the U.S. said Sunday that aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, as well as a British Royal Navy frigate and a French warship, passed through the Strait of Hormuz, obviously to show the nearby presence of Western naval power, without incident.