Iran Has Not Prepared Bill for Blocking Hormuz Strait, Says Parliament Speaker

Threatened blockade of the Strait would stop Iran's oil exports, and also increase the likelihood of military confrontation with the U.S.

No bill has yet been prepared for blocking the Strait of Hormuz, the strategic oil export waterway, Iran's Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said Saturday.

A threatened blockade of the Strait by Iran is theoretically possible, but the move would not only stop Iran's oil exports - the country's main source of income - but also increase the likelihood of a military confrontation with the United States.

Some 20 percent of global oil exports are thought to pass through the Strait of Hormuz.

"The lawmakers are allowed to comment on internal and external issues and even prepare bills, but a specific bill on blocking the Strait of Hormuz has not yet been prepared," Larijani told ISNA news agency.

State media this week quoted Iranian lawmaker Ebrahim Aqa Mohammadi saying that the parliament planned to codify a bill forclosing the Strait of Hormuz in response to EU embargoes on the country's oil exports.

The bill was supposed to be prepared by the parliament's foreign policy and security commission, of which Aqa-Mohammadi is a member.

However, Iranian lawmakers frequently make comments on foreign policy issues which temporarily lead to some confusion as they are interpreted by the media as Iran's official stance.

The Iranian foreign ministry has however repeatedly stressed that comments by lawmakers were solely their own individual views and not that of the government.

However, Iranian generals have also warned several times that the country could close the Strait of Hormuz.

Iran's armed forces chief of staff, General Hassan Firouzabadi, told ISNA that Iran might consider such a move if its interests were jeopardized.

Iran refinery - AP - 23.4.12