SHAFAQNA (Shia News Association) — Iran would not close the Strait of Hormuz as long as it is able to use the vital shipping line itself, a military commander was quoted as saying on Monday, moderating threats by politicians to block the waterway as retaliation for sanctions.
"The enemies constantly state that the Islamic Republic of Iran intends to close the Strait of Hormuz but we say that common sense does not dictate that Iran would close the Strait of Hormuz as long as it makes use of it," said Alireza Tangsiri, deputy naval commander in Iran's Revolutionary Guards, state news agency IRNA reported.
Iranian politicians and officials have often said Iran could block the strait - the neck of the Gulf through which 40 percent of the world's seaborne oil exports passes - in response to sanctions or military action.
Such a move would risk a military response from the United States and Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi told Reuters earlier this month Iran was unlikely to follow through on the threat unless its own vessels were denied use of the strait.
Iran's parliament is debating a bill recommending the strait be closed in retaliation to a European Union embargo on Iranian oil which came into full effect this month.
The sanctions are aimed at forcing Tehran to curb the nuclear activities that the West says are aimed at developing weapons capability, something Iran denies. Talks between Tehran and world powers on the issue have stalled. —www.shafaqna.com/english
SHAFAQNA (Shia News Association)— Iraq said it was calling on the Saudi government to reconsider a decision to block oil exports through a pipeline that would bypass the Strait of Hormuz.
Saudi Arabia is using a pipeline to the Red Sea to ship natural gas from eastern regions of the country. Part of the pipeline runs from the eastern Iraqi border to the Red Sea coast. It was built during the 1980s war with Iran to bypass the Strait of Hormuz and was closed once during the first Gulf War involving Kuwait.
Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh was quoted by the Platts news service as saying "Riyadh does not have the right to ban the Iraqi oil export, according to international law."
Regional oil-producing countries are looking to circumvent the Strait of Hormuz, conduit for about 20 percent of the world's maritime oil shipments, because of ongoing tensions with Iran.
The United Arab Emirates last weekend opened a 230-mile pipeline to bypass the key shipping lane. The oil pipeline is designed to carry 1.5 million barrels of oil per day from the western deserts of the United Arab Emirates to the port of Fujairah.
The Iraqi oil pipeline to the Red Sea could carry as much as 1.6 million bpd.
SHAFAQNA (Shia News Association) — Major General Hassan Firouzabadi made the remarks in an interview with the Persian service of the Mehr News Agency in Tehran on Friday in reply to a question about the proposal that the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee put forward on July 1, which calls for the Strait of Hormuz to be blocked to prevent the passage of tankers that carry oil for the countries that have imposed sanctions on Iran.
The proposal, which has not yet been submitted to the Majlis Presiding Board, was prepared in response to the European Union's oil embargo on Iran that took effect on July 1 and a new U.S. law that penalizes countries that do business with the Central Bank of Iran by denying their banks access to the U.S. market. The law came into force on June 28.
Firouzabadi said, "I, as a senior military commander of the Islamic Republic of Iran, say that we have a (contingency) plan to block the Strait of Hormuz because military men should have plans in regard to all issues, and the Strait of Hormuz is the world's fourth or fifth (most) strategic strait, which affects everything in the world."
"(But) the (Iranian) Shia nation acts wisely and will not be pleased with the disruption of a waterway which accounts for 40 percent of the world's (oil) shipments unless our interests are seriously threatened," he added.
He also stated, "We are exercising wise control over the Strait of Hormuz."
Elsewhere in his remarks, Firouzabadi said, "MPs are representatives of the Iranian nation. MPs' statements or letters or their vote illustrate the message and the vote of the Iranian nation."
MPs have right to propose plan on Strait of Hormuz
In addition, Iranian Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani told reporters in Tehran on Saturday that preparing a proposal on the Strait of Hormuz falls within the ambit of MPs.
Commenting on the proposal to block the Strait of Hormuz, Larijani said, "A number of MPs have prepared a proposal, but it has not been reviewed yet."
MPs have the right to make such a proposal and can express their views about all national and international issues, he added.— www.shafaqna.com/english/