DUBAI - Just over half of Iran's parliament has backed a draft law to block the Strait of Hormuz, a lawmaker said on Friday, threatening to close the Gulf to oil tankers in retaliation against European sanctions on Iranian crude.

The assembly has little say in defense and foreign policy, where Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has the last word, but the law would lend political support to any decision to close the strait - a threat that Iran's foreign minister recently played down.

Lawmaker Javad Karimi Qodoosi said 150 of parliament's 290 members had signed the bill, describing the strait as "the world's lock" to which Iran holds the key.

"If the sanctions continue, the countries that have imposed sanctions have no right to cross the Strait of Hormuz without harm," the Iranian Students' News Agency quoted Qodoosi as saying.

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