(Newsroom America) -- A senior Iranian official said Monday that Tehran would "definitely" close the Strait of Hormuz if a European Union oil embargo disrupts exports of crude.
The announcement, which was reported by the semi-official Fars news agency, came in response to an EU decision Monday to impose an oil embargo on Iran over its suspected nuclear weapons program.
"The pressure of sanctions is designed to try and make sure that Iran takes seriously our request to come to the table," said EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.
The Strait is a strategic waterway that links the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman. About one-sixth of the world's crude passes through the Strait daily, or about 17 million barrels, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
As a sign of rising tensions in the region, the U.S. is sending a second aircraft carrier battle group to the region, RT.com reported. The last time U.S. and Iranian naval forces clashed in 1988, American warships and planes destroyed about a quarter of Iran's navy assets.
Since then, Iran has been preparing its Revolutionary Guards forces to exploit U.S. naval weaknesses, RT.com said.
On Sunday, the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier group sailed through the Strait without incident, U.S. Navy officials said, after Iran had earlier threatened to take action against any American carriers that returned to the region.
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