Military to practise blocking Straits of Hormuz

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A MEMBER of the Iranian parliament’s national security committee has said the military is to practise its ability to close the Gulf to shipping at the narrow Strait of Hormuz, the most important oil transit channel in the world.

Parviz Sarvari told student news agency ISNA yesterday: “Soon we will hold a military manoeuvre on how to close the Strait of Hormuz. If the world wants to make the region insecure, we will make the world insecure.”

Iran’s military declined to comment on the claim.

Iran’s energy minister told Al-Jazeera television last month that Tehran could use oil as a political tool in the event of any future conflict.

About one-third of all sea-borne shipped oil in the world passed through the Straits in 2009, according to the US Energy Information Administration, and US warships patrol the area to ensure safe passage.

Most of the crude exported from Saudi Arabia, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Iraq, together with nearly all the liquefied natural gas from lead exporter Qatar, must slip through the four-mile wide shipping channel between Oman and Iran.

The UAE is believed to be planning to pump oil via an as yet unused pipeline and bypass the Straits. The pipeline links state firm Abu Dhabi National Oil Company’s Habshan oilfields to the port and storage terminal of Fujairah.