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Sanctions row: Iran says it will block all Gulf oil supplies

Iran threatened to stop the flow of oil through the strait of Hormuz if foreign sanctions were imposed on its crude exports because of its nuclear ambitions.

world Updated: Dec 29, 2011 01:59 IST

Iran threatened to stop the flow of oil through the strait of Hormuz if foreign sanctions were imposed on its crude exports because of its nuclear ambitions.

Western tensions with Iran have increased since a report last month by the UN nuclear watchdog saying Tehran appeared to have been working on designing an atomic bomb and may still be pursuing research to that end. Iran strongly denies this and says it is developing nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

Iran has expanded its nuclear activity despite four rounds of UN sanctions meted out since 2006 over its refusal to suspend sensitive uranium enrichment and open up to UN nuclear inspectors and investigators.

Many diplomats and analysts believe only sanctions targeting Iran's lifeblood oil sector may be painful enough to make it change course, but Russia and China - big trade partners of Tehran - have blocked such a move at the UN. Iran's warning came three weeks after EU foreign ministers decided to tighten sanctions over the UN report.

"If they [the west] impose sanctions on Iran's oil exports, then even one drop of oil cannot flow from the strait of Hormuz," Iran's first vice-president, Mohammad Reza Rahimi, said.

Oil price drops near $100 a barrel
Oil prices fell on Wednesday, as Saudi Arabia said it will offset any loss of oil from a threatened Iranian blockade of a crucial tanker route in the Middle East. In New York benchmark crude fell $1.15 to $100.19 a barrel. Brent crude fell 90 cents to $108.37 a barrel in London.

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