Iran Threatens To Block U.S. From Oil Access
According to Bloomberg News, "About 15.5 million barrels of oil a day, or a sixth of global consumption, pass through the Strait of Hormuz between Iran and Oman at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, according to the U.S. Energy Department."
The United States has encouraged The European Union as well as Japan and South Korea to boycott Iranian oil in an effort "to force Tehran to abandon its uranium-enrichment program, which the Obama administration suspects is secretly aimed at enabling Iran to build nuclear weapons," said The Washington Post.
Iran has denied these allegations.
According to USA Today, Iran's warning of closing the strait was the second in two days:
- "Closing the Strait of Hormuz is very easy for Iranian naval forces," Adm. Habibollah Sayyari told state-run Press TV. "Iran has comprehensive control over the strategic waterway," the navy chief said.
From The Washington Post:
- “Does the West expect us to be threatened and attacked and we just surrender?” asked Ali Akbar Javanfekr, head of IRNA and an unofficial spokesman for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. “What are our options? Be sure, we can find ways to tackle any sanctions.”
Other Iranian officials do not agree with the government's threats and believe blocking off the strait would harm their own country:
- “We would be committing economical suicide by closing off the Hormuz Strait,” said an Iranian Oil Ministry official who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject. “Oil money is our only income, so we would be spectacularly shooting ourselves in the foot by doing that.”
- Ahmad Bakhshayesh Ardestani, a political scientist running for parliament from the camp of hard-line clerics and commanders opposing Ahmadinejad, said it is “good politics” for Iran to respond to U.S. threats with threats of its own. “But our threat will not be realized,” Ardestani said. “We are just responding to the U.S., nothing more.”
The U.S. Fifth Fleet said that it would refuse to accept any closure of the Strait of Hormuz in the event that Iran does act upon the threats, said Reuters:
- "The free flow of goods and services through the Strait of Hormuz is vital to regional and global prosperity," a spokesperson for the Bahrain-based fleet said in a written response to queries from Reuters about the possibility of Iran trying to close the waterway.
- "Anyone who threatens to disrupt freedom of navigation in an international strait is clearly outside the community of nations; any disruption will not be tolerated."
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