Iran has officially renewed their threats to close the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic route at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, through which 1/5 of the world’s oil flows, should its interests be seriously threatened.
Yahoo News reports that Gen. Hasan Firouzabadi was quoted on Saturday as saying:
“We do have a plan to close the Strait of Hormuz. A Shiite nation (Iran) acts reasonably and would not approve interruption of a waterway… unless our interests are seriously threatened.”
The chairman of Iran’s Joint Chiefs of Staff’s comments come days after the European Union enforced a total oil embargo against iran after they refused to halt their uranium enrichment program.
USA Today notes that the halt in imports of Iranian crude oil is an attempt to stop the country from enriching uranium to the 20 percent level. The issue is at the center of an international dispute following an official report that Iranian nuclear missiles could reach the United States.
While Iran continually insists that its reactors are simply for energy and research, material produced at the 20 percent enrichment level is much higher than the 3.5 percent needed for energy-producing reactors, and it would only take months to turn into weapons-grade material, according to USA Today.
The Associated Free Press notes that Firouzabadi further explained:
“What my colleagues say regarding (the closing of the strait) echo missions assigned to them…the order to carry out the mission will only come from a decision by the Supreme National Security Council and approved by Supreme Leader [Ayatollah Ali Khamenei].”
Yahoo News reports that lawmakers in Iran have already prepared a bill that would use military action to stop tankers headed to countries that have joined in the oil ban, but Ali Larijani, Iran’s parliament speaker, denies that the proposed bill has been studied by parliament.
This is not the first time Iran has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, as the country’s powerful Revolutionary Guard has warned before that Tehran could order the Strait’s closure if oil exports are blocked from Iran.