January 23, 2012
Iran has reacted angrily to an agreement by European Union foreign ministers to impose an oil embargo on the country.
Following the agreement reached on Monday, Iranian lawmaker Mohammad Ismail Kowsari, deputy head of Iran’s influential committee on national security, said the strait “would definitely be closed if the sale of Iranian oil is violated in any way.”
A fifth of the world’s oil moves through the Strait of Hormuz.
“Tehran will not grin and bear it when its interests are undermined,” said lawmaker Alaeddin Boroujerdi, according to Press TV. Boroujerdi is a lawmaker who heads the national security and foreign policy committee in Tehran.
Another lawmaker, Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, said Iran has a “right” to shut down Hormuz. Falahatpisheh is a senior member of Iran’s Majlis, or Iranian parliament.
Ali Falahaian, a former intelligence minister, said Iran should stop all its crude exports “so that oil prices would go up and the Europeans’ sanctions would collapse.”
Iran first issued warnings about closing down the Strait of Hormuz in December. “If they impose sanctions on Iran’s oil exports, then even one drop of oil cannot flow from the Strait of Hormuz,” said Vice President Mohamed Reza Rahimi.
Admiral Habibollah Sayyari told Iran’s state-run Press TV that closing down the strait would be “very easy for Iranian naval forces,” but said “such a decision should be made by top establishment leaders.”
It now appears Iran’s leaders are a step closer to considering that option as the EU and the United States impose an embargo and punitive sanctions.
The price of oil surpassed $99 per barrel on news of the embargo and Iran’s response.
Benchmark crude for March delivery moved up about a dollar to trade 90 cents higher at $99.23 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, according to the Associated Press.