Iran threatens to stop Gulf oil if sanctions widened

Tue Dec 27, 2011 10:08pm GMT
 

Rahimi's remarks coincided with a 10-day Iranian naval exercise in the Strait and nearby waters, a show of military force that began on Saturday.

"Our enemies will give up on their plots against Iran only if we give them a firm and strong lesson," Rahimi said.

JANUARY MEETING

EU ministers said on December 1 that a decision on further sanctions would be taken no later than their January meeting but left open the idea [ID:nL5E7N92VF] of an embargo on Iranian oil.

Countries in the 27-member European Union take 450,000 barrels per day of Iranian oil, about 18 percent of the Islamic Republic's exports, much of which go to China and India. EU officials declined to comment on Tuesday.

About a third of all sea-borne oil was shipped through the Strait of Hormuz in 2009, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), and U.S. warships patrol the area to ensure safe passage.

Most of the crude exported from Saudi Arabia, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Iraq - together with nearly all the liquefied natural gas from lead exporter Qatar - must slip through the Strait of Hormuz, a 4-mile (6.4 km) wide shipping channel between Oman and Iran.

Iran has also hinted it could hit Israel and U.S. interests in the Gulf in response to any military strike on its nuclear installations - a last resort option hinted at by Washington and the Jewish state.

However, some analysts say Iran would think hard about sealing off the Strait since it could suffer just as much economically as Western crude importers, and could kindle war with militarily superior big powers.   Continued...

Iran's Navy Commander Habibulah Sayari holds a news conference in Tehran December 22, 2011.  REUTERS/Hamed Jafarnejad/Fars News
 
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