Iran’s minister plays down Hormuz blockade

Iran`s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said Tehran would close off Strait of Hormuz if its own exports are halted.

Tehran: Iran`s foreign minister is playing down his country`s threat to close the vital Strait of Hormuz in retaliation for Western sanctions over its nuclear programme.
Ali Akbar Salehi insisted Iran would close off the passage for a fifth of the world`s oil if its own exports are halted, according to the semi-official Fars news agency, adding, "but I don`t think such a time will ever come”.

Salehi`s comment on Tuesday came after the European Union began enforcing a ban on purchase of Iranian oil. EU imports made up about 18 percent of Iran`s oil sales.

The embargo is part of a series of sanctions meant to pressure Iran to halt its uranium enrichment program. The West suspects Iran is aiming to build nuclear weapons. Iran denies that.