Iran will block the shipment of all oil through the crucial Strait of Hormuz in the event that Western nations apply sanctions upon Iranian oil exports.
The threat was made by Iran’s Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi and reported by IRNA, the state-controlled news agency.
According to IRNA, Rahimi said: If sanctions are adopted against Iranian oil, not a drop of oil will pass through the Strait of Hormuz. We have no desire for hostilities or violence ... but the West doesn't want to go back on its plan to impose sanctions, he said. The enemies will only drop their plots when we put them back in their place.
The Strait of Hormuz, a narrow waterway between Iran and the Arab oil emirates, carries millions of barrels of oil daily and is one of the world’s most important and strategic pieces of real estate.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), more than one-third of global tanker-borne oil supply moves through the Strait. The passage is so vital to the west that the U.S. maintains a naval presence in the area to guarantee the safe shipment of oil.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Iraq, Qatar – as well as Iran - use the Strait to transport oil and/or natural gas exports.
Meanwhile, the Iranian navy has been conducting drills and ‘war games’ near Hormuz, suggesting it is not afraid to assert its ability to halt oil shipments out of the region and challenge Europe and the U.S.
Western nations have been upgrading its already stringent economic sanctions against Iran in light of a report in November by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which indicated that Iran’s nascent nuclear program also includes the development of atomic weapons.
Shortly thereafter, when Britain announced new sanctions against Iran, its embassy in Tehran was attacked, forcing most of the diplomatic staff to be called home.