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Jan 8, 2012 11:23 AM by Matt Stafford

Iran Guard says will close strait if oil blocked

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - An Iranian newspaper quotes a senior commander in Iran's Revolutionary Guard as saying that Tehran's leadership has decided to order the closure of the strategic Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Persian Gulf if the country's oil exports are blocked.

Khorasan daily reported Sunday that Ali Ashraf Nouri says the strategic decision has been made by Iran's top authorities.

Iranian politicians have made the threat in the past, but this is the strongest statement yet that a closure of the strait is official policy.  Closing the strait could cause shifts in oil prices around the world.

The U.S. has recently enacted new sanctions targeting Iran's central bank and its ability to sell petroleum abroad over Tehran's nuclear program. Washington says Tehran is trying to develop weapons, while Iran denies the charges.

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