Saturday, March 11, 2006

Iran threatens to use oil as weapon
Iran threatened Saturday to use oil as a weapon if the UN Security Council imposes sanctions over its nuclear program.

The country's interior minister raised the possibility of using Iran's own oil and gas supplies and its position on a vital Persian Gulf oil route as weapons in the international standoff.

"If (they) politicize our nuclear case, we will use any means. We are rich in energy resources. We have control over the biggest and the most sensitive energy route of the world," Interior Minister Mostafa Pourmohammadi was quoted as saying by the official Islamic Republic News Agency. READ MORE

Iran is the No. 2 producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and has partial control over the narrow Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Persian Gulf. The strait is an essential passage for crude oil from key producers such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Iraq.

Pourmohammadi's statements were the most specific yet -- and the first explicitly targeting oil -- in a series of threats levied by Iranian officials as the Security Council discusses what action to take over Iran's nuclear program. Washington says Iran wants to produce atomic weapons. Iran denies that claim, saying it intends only to generate electricity.

Iran's hardline president warned Thursday that the West will suffer more than his country if it tries to block Tehran's nuclear ambitions. The top Iranian delegate to the UN atomic watchdog agency said a day earlier that the United States will face "harm and pain" if the Security Council becomes involved.