Iran’s Parliament has drafted a bill calling for tankers to be stopped from shipping crude through the Strait of Hormuz to countries that support sanctions, a member said last Monday, reported Reuters.
However, bills introduced in the Iranian parliament are unlikely to get far unless sanctioned by the leadership.
”There is a bill prepared in the National Security and Foreign Policy committee of Parliament that stresses the blocking of oil tanker traffic carrying oil to countries that have sanctioned Iran,” Iranian MP Ibrahim Agha-Mohammadi said, according to Iran’s parliamentary news agency. “This bill has been developed as an answer to the European Union’s oil sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
Agha-Mohammadi said that 100 of Tehran’s 290 members of parliament had signed the bill as of last Sunday, according to Reuters.
However, no details were given on how Iran would verify the destination of every ship passing out of the Persian Gulf, which is under scrutiny by the US Navy.
Iranian threats to block the waterway, through which about 17 mill barrels of oil passed per day in 2011, have grown in the past year as US and European sanctions aimed at starving Tehran of funds for its nuclear programme have tightened.
If the bill is approved by Parliament, it would then have to be approved by the 12-member Council of Guardians, made up of Muslim clerics and lawyers selected by the supreme leader, which can veto any bill.
Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia has already taken precautionary steps against the possibility of Iran closing Hormuz, including the reopening of an old pipeline built by Iraq to bypass the strait and export more crude via the Red Sea terminals.
The US has also sent four minesweepers to the Gulf to bolster its Fifth Fleet after the Iranian military also recently renewed threats to block Hormuz, Reuters reported.