U.S. officials claim Iran has devised plans to disrupt oil trade: WSJ

U.S. government officials, citing new intelligence, have claimed that Iran has developed plans to disrupt international oil trade, including attacks on oil platforms and tankers, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Officials said the information suggests that Iran could take action against facilities both inside and outside of the Persian Gulf, even in the absence of an overt military conflict.

The findings come as American officials closely watch Iran for its reaction to oil sanctions and as Israel threatens to bomb its nuclear sites.

The latest findings underscore why many military officials continue to focus on Iran as potentially the most serious U.S. national-security concern in the region, even as the crisis in Syria has deepened and other conflicts, like in Libya, have raged.

Defense officials cautioned there is no evidence that Tehran has moved assets into position to disrupt tankers or attack other sites, but stressed that Iran's intent appears clear.

The officials wouldn't describe the intelligence or its sources, but analysts said statements in the Iranian press and by lawmakers in Tehran suggest the possibility of more-aggressive action in the Persian Gulf as a response to the new sanctions.

Iran has threatened that it would close the strategic Strait of Hormuz if its interests are threatened.

150 Iranian MPs in the 290-seat parliament have backed a draft law to block the Strait of Hormuz to prevent the passage of tankers that carry oil to the countries that have imposed sanctions on Iran.

MP Javad Karimi Qodoosi, who drafted the document, described the strait as "the world's lock" to which Iran holds the key.

The strait is one of the world's most strategic shipping channels. It connects the vast majority of the world's countries with the crude oil that fuels their economies.

At its narrowest point, the strait is 21 miles wide, with a two-mile shipping lane on either side.

PA/RM
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MNA

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