Iran Threatens To Block Oil Routes

Oil prices were higher after a top Iranian official threatened to block a considerable part of the world's oil supply, if new economic sanctions are imposed on his country. The official spoke of blocking oil tankers from moving through the Straits of Hormuz.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with Iran shaking the oil markets.

Oil prices are higher this morning after a top Iranian official threatened to block a considerable part of the world's oil supply, if new economic sanctions are imposed on his country. The official spoke of blocking oil tankers from moving through the Straits of Hormuz; that's the opening from the Persian Gulf, a major transit route for a number of nations, and it goes right past the Iranian shore.

The U.S. is preparing to impose sanctions in an effort to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapons program. A State Department spokesman called the comments by the Iranian official bluster. A senior Saudi Arabian official has said that Gulf nations are prepared to offset any disruption in supplies.

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