Iran drafts bill to close Strait of Hormuz

Posted Jul 3, 2012 by Anne Sewell
Iran is planning to close the Strait of Hormuz to oil tankers traveling to countries supporting economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
The Strait of Hormuz pictured on the right side of this satellite image.
The Strait of Hormuz pictured on the right side of this satellite image.
Courtesy Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC
The EU embargo against Iran went into effect on July 1. While theories are that this will not affect Iran too badly, lawmakers in the Islamic Republic are drafting a bill, which would effectively close the Strait of Hormuz to oil tankers delivering to countries supporting the economic sanctions against Iran.
Iranian MP Ibrahim Agha-Mohammadi told reporters, ­"There is a bill prepared in the National Security and Foreign Policy committee of Parliament that stresses the blocking of oil tanker traffic carrying oil to countries that have sanctioned Iran."
"This bill has been developed as an answer to the European Union's oil sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran," he added.
According to Agha-Mohammadi by July 1, 100 of Tehran's 290 members of parliament had signed the bill.
The Strait of Hormuz is a vital shipping route, and around 17 million barrels of oil sailed through there in 2011. Most of the crude exported from the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, as well as most of the gas exported from Qatar, sails through this route.
In the video interview above, investigative journalist and historian Gareth Porter says that he believes the introduction of this bill is a step in a series of actions Iran is planning, to hamper oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz, which would cause oil prices to skyrocket.
Porter told RT, “What we can look forward to in the coming weeks and months is that the Iranians will make a series of moves, beginning with this bill in the Majlis, threatening to pass the bill; if that doesn’t have an effect, certainly going ahead with the passage.”
“Then first in a series of limited moves towards threatening to actually put mines in the strait to prevent the shipping of oil from going through. And then, I think, Iranians have the option of a very limited use of mines, with very few mines being dropped in this strait to try to get the price of oil to shoot up, for one thing, and to get the United States to react,” he adds.
According to Al Arabiya News, the U.S. is responding, “the message to Iran is, ‘Don’t even think about it," according to a senior Defense Department official.
“Don’t even think about closing the strait. We’ll clear the mines. Don’t even think about sending your fast boats out to harass our vessels or commercial shipping. We’ll put them on the bottom of the Gulf.”
Zero Hedge is reporting that Arsalan Fathipour, the head of the Parliament's Economy Committee, was interviewed by Alalam News Network, and said that the recent oil price will fall, but not for long.
He told Fars News Agency, "We take the control of the Hormuz Strait. If we are supposed to be sanctioned, we will not allow a drop of oil to pass through the strait."
"In such a situation, oil price will surge and we will see that those who have imposed sanctions will not be able to be accountable for their people," he added.
Fars News also reported that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said yesterday, "The sanctions imposed against our country have been the heaviest and harshest imposed against any country thus far, and the enemy assumption that they can weaken Iran is, of course, wrong and a result of their merely materialistic calculations."
President Ahmadinejad says that oil exports reflect a mere 10% of Iran's economy. He says, "We should see the sanctions as an opportunity to cut the present level of the dependence of the country's budget on oil (revenues) and the enemies will no more be able to use oil as a sanction weapon."
"We should resist against pressures and live through this stage with honor and respond to the hostile policies of enemy by moving past the sanctions very mightily and powerfully," he added.