Iran's official news agency on Tuesday quoted a top official as saying Iran will close the Strait of Hormuz, cutting off oil exports, if the West imposes sanctions on Iran's oil shipments.
According to the IRNA report Tuesday Vice President Mohamed Reza Rahimi said Iran does not want hostilities but charged that the West continues its plots against Iran.
The West is considering limiting Iran's oil trade over its disputed nuclear program. Some 80 percent of Iran's foreign revenue comes from oil exports.
In Washington, State Department spokesman Mark Toner called the threat "bluster." He said it was "another attempt by them to distract attention from the real issue, which is their continued noncompliance with international nuclear obligations."
Rahimi has no major role in Iran's foreign or military policy.
Iran is conducting a 10-day naval maneuver in the area the of the Strait of Hormuz, where about 40 percent of the world's oil supply passes. Closing the strait would have immense world economic impact.