Tehran: US President Barack Obama has called
for direct talks with Iran in a secret letter to the Islamic
Republic's supreme leader that also warned Tehran against
closing the strategic Strait of Hormuz, a conservative Iranian
lawmaker was quoted as saying on Wednesday.
Iran has threatened to close the waterway, the route for
about one-sixth of the global oil flow, because of new US
sanctions over its nuclear program.
Conservative lawmaker Ali Motahari revealed the content of
the letter days after the Obama administration said it was
warning Iran through public and private channels against any
action that threatens the flow of oil from the Persian Gulf.
"In the letter, Obama called for direct talks with Iran,"
the semiofficial Fars news agency quoted Motahari as saying
Wednesday. "The letter also said that closing the Strait of
Hormuz is (Washington's) red line."
"The first part of the letter contains threats and the
second part contains an offer for dialogue," he added.
Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast
confirmed that Tehran received the letter and was considering
a possible response.
The White House had no immediate comment today. National
Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor pointed to the
administration warning efforts that were revealed Friday.
Spokesmen have been vague on what the United States would
do about Iran's threat to block the strategic Strait of
Hormuz, but military officials have been clear that the US is
readying for a possible naval clash.
Iran's Revolutionary Guard, the country's most powerful
military force, says Tehran's leadership has decided to order
the closure of the oil route if Iran's oil exports are
A senior Guard officer said earlier this month that the
decision has been made by Iran's top authorities.
Iranian politicians have made the threat in the past, but
this was the strongest statement yet that a closure of the
strait is official policy.
Iran's regular army recently held naval war games near the
vital waterway that were described by hard-liners as part of
preparations to close the strait if sanctions are imposed. The
Guard is planning major naval military exercises next month in
the same region.
First Published: Thursday, January 19, 2012, 00:07