Iran Warns West on Oil Embargo, Up for Nuclear Talks

World | January 13, 2012, Friday // 14:23|  views

Iran`s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi (L) and Turkey`s President Abdullah Gul shaking hands before their meeting in Ankara, Turkey 18 January 2012. EPA/BGNES

Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi has urged the West to think twice before introducing an oil embargo against his country over the situation around the Strait of Hormuz.

"Iran is used to embargos, which have been introduced against it over the past 12 years. We certainly don't welcome sanctions and so we call on the West to think hard before taking such measures," he told Turkey's NTV channel, cited by RIA Novosti.

Tensions between Iran and the West have escalated in the past few weeks after Tehran threatened to stop oil supplies passing through the Strait of Hormuz if economic sanctions imposed by Western nations limit or prevent Iranian oil exports.

"We don't need the Americans or Britons to ensure security in the Persian Gulf," he said, cautioning the countries in the region "not to endanger themselves."

The minister also confirmed Tehran's readiness to resume six-party negotiations with international mediators on Iran's nuclear problem.

"Iran is ready for negotiations and that is its official position," he said.

Oil exports make up some 80% of Iran's foreign revenues and Tehran has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, the export route for one third of global seaborne traded oil, in response to sanctions; these warnings have come amidst heightened likelihood that the USA and/or Israel might resort to carrying out a preemptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities.

US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said such a move would provoke a response.

The USA, other Western powers and Israel suspect Iran of seeking to build nuclear weapons. Iran denies this, saying its program is purely civilian.

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Tags: Iranian nuclear program, Iran, turkey, West, USA, Israel, Hormuz Strait, oil, embargo, Ali Akbar Salehi, Leon Panetta, Tehran


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