Iran must respect navigation rights in Hormuz: France
France called on Iranian authorities Wednesday to respect international law and navigation rights after Tehran threatened to close the vital Strait of Hormuz oil transit channel.
"As with human rights and nuclear proliferation, we are calling on the Iranian authorities to respect international law and in particular the freedom to navigate in international waters and straits," French foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said.
"The Strait of Hormuz is an international strait. Therefore all ships, no matter what flag they fly, have the right of transit passage," he said.
Iranian Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi warned on Tuesday that "not a drop of oil will pass through the Strait of Hormuz" if the West broadened sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme.
The United States and the European Union are considering new sanctions aimed at Iran's oil and financial sectors. But EU governments have been divided over whether to impose an embargo on Iranian crude.
More than a third of the world's tanker-borne oil passes through the Strait of Hormuz, linking the Gulf -- and its petroleum-exporting states of Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates -- to the Indian Ocean.
© 2011 AFP