Iran threatens to choke gulf tanker lanes

July 3, 2012 at 7:08 AM

TEHRAN, July 3 (UPI) -- Members of the Iranian Parliament announced they put forward a measure to block oil tanker traffic through the Strait of Hormuz.

Around 100 of the 290 members of Parliament thus far have backed the measure to block oil tanker traffic for countries that have enacted sanctions against Iran.

Ramin Mehmanparast, a spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, said Tuesday the measure reflected the will of the Iranian people.

"The Parliament members are the nation's representatives and they reflect the Iranian nation's views and the Iranian nation's public opinion about the hostile moves against the country," he was quoted by the semiofficial Fars News agency as saying.

U.S. and European sanctions targeting Iran's energy sector went into force last weekend. Sanctions were meant as punishment for Iran's controversial nuclear program, which Tehran maintains is peaceful.

Roughly 20 percent of the oil traded on global markets passed through the Strait of Hormuz last year.

Similar threats to close the Strait of Hormuz sent oil prices higher, sparking concerns about the health of the global economy. Major oil suppliers such as Saudi Arabia, however, have since given assurances that markets were well supplied.

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