Iran's foreign minister said Tehran does not plan to block the Strait of Hormuz, the slender oil shipping channel out of the Persian Gulf, for now, but meantime warned that it would choke off the world oil lifeline if it is denied access to the Persian Gulf.
"Probably those who have suggested this idea have in mind that if Iran is denied access to the Persian Gulf for whatever reason ... then Iran will probably react appropriately," Salehi said in reference to the recent calls by several Iranian lawmakers on government officials to close the Strait of Hormuz. "But I don't think such a time will ever come," he added. Salehi's remarks came as Iranian lawmakers warned once again last week that the country would shut the strategic Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf if sanctions against the Islamic Republic increase. Last week, the National Security and Foreign Policy Commission of the Iranian Parliament drafted a bill requiring the government to stop all oil tankers shipping oil for those countries which support the US and EU sanctions against Iran's oil sales. Then on Sunday, a senior Iranian legislator announced that the parliament plans to invite Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Saeed Jalili as well as a number of foreign ministry and military officials to confer on a draft bill on closing the Strait of Hormuz to those tankers shipping crude to the countries that support sanctions against Iran. "In order to study the bill on the blockading of the Strait of Hormuz better and more precisely, the SNSC secretary and a number of officials from the foreign ministry and the General Staff of the Armed Forces will be invited to the parliament and their views and proposals will be used," Seyed Mehdi Moussavinejad, one of the lawmakers who has signed the draft bill, told FNA on Sunday. "The parliament should take an all-around and insightful decision on the Strait of Hormuz and defend the rights of the Iranian nation without any reservations," he added. Moussavinejad also announced that the draft bill of the parliament which requires the government to close the Strait of Hormuz to those tankers shipping oil to the supporters of sanctions against Iran will be submitted to the parliament's Presiding Board late July to be put on parliament's agenda with double-urgency to go under further discussions by all lawmakers. An EU embargo on Iranian oil went into effect on July 1. Tehran has repeatedly cautioned that such measures will hurt talks with world powers over its nuclear program. Iran has threatened to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz at the entrance to the oil-rich Persian Gulf if its nuclear program is targeted by air strikes that Israel and the United States reserve as an option. Situated between the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz is a passageway for 40% of the world's oil production, including much of the crude extracted in Saudi Arabia.