By Ladane Nasseri
July 6 (Bloomberg) — Iran will close the Strait of Hormuz, through which the bulk of Middle East oil is shipped, if the country is attacked, state-run Fars news agency reported, citing a military commander.
“All countries should know that if Iran’s interests in the region are ignored, it is natural that we will not allow others to use” the waterway, Fars cited Armed Forces Chief of Staff Hassan Firouzabadi as saying late yesterday.
The Strait of Hormuz between Iran and Oman at the mouth of the Persian Gulf handles the shipment of about 20 percent of the world’s daily supply of oil, according to figures from the U.S. government’s Energy Information Administration. The oil’s main destinations include the U.S., Western Europe and Japan.
The U.S. and many of its allies have accused Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons. Iran insists the atomic program is intended to produce electricity and is legal under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Iran also warned that it would use “blitzkrieg tactic” in the Persian Gulf if it came under attack, the news agency said, citing the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, Mohammad Ali Jafari.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps “is equipped with the most advanced missiles that can strike the enemies’ vessels and naval equipment with fatal blows,” Jafari said, according to the news agency.
Tensions have been rising in the region amid speculation that Israel may be prepared to attack Iran to prevent it from building a nuclear bomb. President George W. Bush said July 2 he is committed to pursuing a diplomatic solution to the confrontation over Iran’s nuclear program, though “all options” remain in place to prevent Iran from developing an atomic weapon.
To contact the reporter on this story: Ladane Nasseri in Tehran at [email protected].