Iranian warships ignored an Iraqi merchant mariner sailing out of the Persian Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz following a threat of renewed hostilities from Baghdad, shipping sources said Thursday.

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein told Arab information ministers gathered in Baghdad Tuesday he would regard an Iranian attempt to board and search Iraqi vessels steaming through the strategic waterway as a warlike act.Navigation in the gulf and sovereignty over the Shatt-al-Arab waterway, which flows along part of the Iran-Iraq border at the head of the gulf, remain a major obstacle in stalled Geneva peace talks between the two combatants.

The shipping sources said the 3,985-ton merchantman Khawla, flying Iraqi colors and carrying a load of fertilizer to an unknown destination, passed through the Strait of Hormuz and out of the gulf Wednesday night.