Iran's ambassador to the United Nations says 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."

Ambassador Mohammad Khaezee issued the warning, aimed clearly at the United States, in an interview Wednesday (Jan 18) on the U.S.-based Charlie Rose Show.

Approximately 40 percent of the Western world's oil supply is shipped through the waterway, which is controlled by Iran.

"We believe that the Strait of Hormuz should be the strait of peace and stability," Khazaee said affably. "But if foreign powers want to create trouble in the Persian Gulf, of course it would be the right of Iran as well as the rest of the countries in the region to try to defend themselves."

Khazaee added that it was not the Iranian government that was making the threat -- rather, it was "some military people in Iran."

The ambassador's remarks were part of a series of threats that have streamed forth from the Islamic Republic in response to tightened sanctions by the United States and Britain, and warnings by both that they will not allow Iran to close the Strait of Hormuz.

The European Union is set to meet on January 23 to consider joining the effort to strengthen the embargo against Iran in hopes of convincing its government to scale back, if not entirely halt its nuclear development programs.

Intelligence reports have indicated that Iran is working on creating an atomic weapon of mass destruction -- considered a threat to the entire international community. 

Israel has warned of just such an eventuality for the past ten years, and some officials in the Jewish State have said the Islamic Republic has already reach the technology that will make it possible for Iran to create a nuclear weapon.