Iran warned this Wednesday that if sanctions on Iranian oil shipments continue, the country will cut off the oil flow from the Strait of Hormuz, halting the supply for a sixth of the world’s oil.
Sanctions have been imposed on the Iranian export as a result of Iran’s continuous lack of compliance with the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty. The U.S. and its allies have staunchly opposed Iran’s nuclear program, believing Iran is using it to develop weapons of mass destruction.
This would be a direct violation of the treaty, which seeks to eventually end the spread of nuclear energy. Iran denies using its program for anything other than peaceful purposes.
"If [the West] impose sanctions on Iran's oil exports, then even one drop of oil cannot flow from the Strait of Hormuz," Iran's First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi told Iranian news agency IRNA.
The Associated Press reports that on Saturday, Iran began drilling along a 1,250 mile stretch off the Strait of Hormuz, northern sections of the Indian Ocean and into the Gulf of Aden near the entrance into the Red Sea.
The drilling may be cause for military conflict as the 10-day drilling project could bring Iranian ships very close to nearby U.S. Navy ships.
But there can be repercussions for foreign businesses and U.S allies including Europe and Asian countries if the U.S. passes a proposed bill sanctioning the Iran Central Bank.
Both European and Asian countries rely on Iran Central Bank when importing Iranian oil. Also, the Strait of Hormuz is located in the Persian Gulf and is a major means of obtaining oil for Western powers. Iran is the fourth largest supplier of oil in the world.
Fox News reports that Washington believes the threat is idle.
State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the threat is a "bluster," and is just "another attempt by them to distract attention from the real issue, which is their continued noncompliance with international nuclear obligations."