Iran threatens to use its oil as a weapon
Russia is pushing for a new round of talks away from U.N. headquarters.
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iran explicitly warned for the first time Saturday that it could use oil as a weapon if the U.N. Security Council imposes sanctions over an Iranian nuclear program that the United States and others suspect is trying to produce atomic bombs.
Later in the day, diplomats said Russia is pushing for a new round of international talks to be held away from U.N. headquarters, apparently hoping to head off a showdown in the council.
Iranian Interior Minister Mostafa Pourmohammadi raised the possibility of using Iran's oil and natural gas supplies as a weapon in the international standoff and also noted Iran's strategic location at a choke point for a vital Persian Gulf oil route.
"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," Pourmohammadi was quoted as saying by the official Islamic Republic News Agency.
Iran is the No. 2 producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries after Saudi Arabia. It also lies on one side of the narrow Strait of Hormuz, a key passage for most of the crude oil shipped from the Persian Gulf nations.
Pourmohammadi's statements were the most specific yet in a series of threats issued by Iranian officials as the Security Council discusses how to cajole Iran into reimposing a freeze on uranium enrichment and fully cooperating with a U.N. probe of its suspect nuclear program.
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.