Iraqi Oil Minister Abdul Kareem Al Luaibi, speaking in his capacity as current head of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec), said he will visit Iran to seek assurances on Arabian Gulf crude shipments and Iranian output. \"I will be in Iran tomorrow to encourage the brothers to issue a statement including important and clear assurances from the Islamic Republic to the world,\" he said yesterday at a news conference in Baghdad. \"Everyone is keen to protect waterways as well as the production and export of crude oil in the region because this will have positive effects on the whole world,\" he said. Iranian Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi said on December 27 that his nation may close the Strait of Hormuz if the US and its allies impose stricter economic sanctions in an effort to halt his country\'s nuclear research. European Union foreign ministers plan to meet on Monday to decide on a proposed ban on purchases of Iranian oil.