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Iran Says Closing Vital Oil-Transit Strait Not On Agenda

An Iranian boat fires a missile during naval war games in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz in April 2010.
Iran's Foreign Ministry has said closure of the Strait of Hormuz, a key transit route for one-third of the world's tanker oil, is "not on the agenda."

Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast, however, reiterated that the strait, a narrow stretch along Iran's Gulf shoreline, could be threatened if current rising tensions ever spilled over into war.

He accused the United States and Israel of threatening Iran so as to create "a climate of war...and in such a climate there is the possibility of some reactions."

Oil prices spiked on December 13 after a comment by an Iranian lawmaker appeared to suggest Iran may be looking at closing the Strait of Hormuz.

Parviz Sorouri, the head of the parliamentary national security committee, was quoted as saying that Iran "will soon hold a drill to close down the Strait of Hormuz."

An editorial in a hard-line newspaper with close ties to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei meanwhile asked "why hasn't the Islamic Republic of Iran used its unchallengeable right" to counter international pressure by controlling traffic through the strait, a vital transit route that connects the Persian Gulf with the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea.

The United States maintains a navy presence in the Persian Gulf to ensure it remains open.

compiled from agency reports