January 24, 2012
Iran’s foreign minister Ali Asghar Khaji summoned the Danish ambassador in Tehran to protest the European Union’s decision to go forward with an oil embargo on the country. Denmark currently holds the rotating EU presidency.
Iranian politicians also renewed a previous threat to close down the Straight of Hormuz if the embargo is implemented. “Closing the Strait of Hormuz is one of the country’s strategies against the West’s threats, especially an oil embargo,” said Emad Hosseini, spokesman for parliament’s energy committee. “Europe should be responsible for the consequences of these reckless decisions.”
On January 20, Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations said closing the Strait of Hormuz is an option in the event his country is harmed by sanctions or an embargo.
“There is no decision to block and close the Strait of Hormuz unless Iran is threatened seriously and somebody wants to tighten the noose,” Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee said on the Charlie Rose show, according to Bloomberg. “All the options are or would be on the table.”
“We believe that the Strait of Hormuz should be the strait of peace and stability,” Khazaee said. “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.”
The United States and the EU believe Iran has the capability to close Hormuz, although not indefinitely.
On January 9, General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that Iran has the capacity to block the strait “for a period of time,” and that the U.S. would take action to reopen it. “We’ve invested in capabilities to ensure that if that happens, we can defeat that,” Dempsey said.
Iran also said the sanctions set to go into effect in July will fail. “The West’s ineffective sanctions against the Islamic state are not a threat to us. They are opportunities and have already brought lots of benefits to the country,” Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi told the official IRNA news agency.”The global economic situation is not one in which a country can be destroyed by imposing sanctions.”
Iran has pledged to find alternative markets for 18-percent of its oil that is currently sold to the 27-nation European bloc. “This market will harm them because oil is getting more expensive and when oil gets more expensive it will harm the people of Europe,” Moslehi added. “We hope that in these six months they will choose the right path.”
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