Iran marked the fifth anniversary of its war with Iraq yesterday by renewing threats to block all oil exports from the Persian Gulf, while Iraq said it would destroy Iran's Kharg Island oil terminal unless Iran agrees to peace.
The Iranian threat by President Ali Khamenei came during a speech to thousands of Iranians at Azadi Square in Tehran at the opening of week-long ceremonies commemorating the start of the war on Sept. 22, 1980, The Associated Press reported.
"If Iraqi attacks cut our oil exports, we shall close the Strait of Hormuz with all our might to all exporting countries in the region," Khamenei said. The narrow Strait of Hormuz is the Persian Gulf's only outlet.
Khamenei also threatened "destructive blows against economic centers deep inside Iraq" if attacks against Iranian oil facilities continue. On Thursday, Iraq raided Kharg Island for the 10th time in five weeks, causing extensive damage to the main oil-loading jetty, according to shipping officials.
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, referring to Kharg Island in a speech broadcast yesterday, threatened to "destroy this precious thing because Iran rejected" efforts toward peace.
Hussein added, "Iraq is capable of destroying all vital Iranian targets from the Strait of Hormuz to the deepest point inside Iran." Hussein's speech, delivered Saturday to Iraqi pilots, was carried by state-run Radio Baghdad and monitored in Nicosia, Cyprus.