Iran will definitely close the Strait of Hormuz, the vital oil-transport waterway between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, if the embargos put into place by the European Union disrupt the export of crude oil, Russian news organization Russia Today reports. The EU formally adopted embargos against Iran early on Monday in an effort to pressure the country into halting their nuclear program and resume talks with the EU about it.
Lawmaker Mohammad Ismail Kowsari, deputy head of Iran's influential committee on national security, said Monday the strait would definitely be closed if the sale of Iranian oil is violated in any way, according to the Associated Press.
The pressure of sanctions is designed to try and make sure that Iran takes seriously our request to come to the table, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton told Russia Today. Iran had its assets in the Central Bank frozen, and disallows new contracts for crude oil and petroleum. Approximately 80 percent of Iran's foreign revenue comes from oil exports, according to the AP, and any disruption in that could cripple the country.
Iran threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz earlier this month if sanctions were imposed, and now say that they will be making good on that threat. The Strait of Hormuz sees some 17 million barrels of oil pass through every day, and, if closed, 20 percent of worldwide oil would be affected, causing prices to increase sharply.
The EU, along with the United States and other countries, has long accused Iran of using its nuclear program to develop weapons, while Iran maintains that they are using it only to increase the country's energy output and advance their medical technology.
The recent start of operations of enrichment of uranium to a level of up to 20 percent in the deeply buried underground facility in Fordo near Qom further aggravates concerns about the possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear program, the EU said in a statement.
The embargo part of an unprecedented set of sanctions, British Foreign Secretary William Hague told the AP. I think this shows the resolve of the European Union on this issue, he said.
There is no word on when, exactly, Iran would close the Strait of Hormuz.