After this weekend's fiery rhetoric by their President and chief Clerics I was waiting to see what was going to come next. We didn't have long to wait. (NY TIMES ART) :
Iran warned Monday that it could easily close a critical Persian Gulf waterway for oil shipments and claimed possession of a new long-range naval weapon that could sink enemy ships nearly 200 miles away.
It was unclear what provoked the warning, made by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, but it followed the weekend expiration of an informal deadline for Iran to respond to incentives from world powers to curb its uranium enrichment activities. The United States, which has warships deployed in the Persian Gulf, has said new sanctions should be imposed on Iran for failing to respond to the deadline.
The Iranian warning coincided with word that Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, spoke by phone on Monday with the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Javier Solana. Mr. Solana was expected to report back on the conversation to the representatives of the six countries — the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany — that are leading the demands that Iran stop enriching uranium, Agence France-Presse reported.
In comments carried by the semiofficial Iranian news agency Fars, Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, said that Iran was capable of imposing “unlimited controls” at the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, an important international oil route.
“Closing the Strait of Hormuz for an unlimited period of time would be very easy,” he was quoted as saying.
General Jafari gave no details about the type of naval weapon involved in the recent test, but he said it was Iranian-built and “unique in the world.”
He said it would have the range to reach enemy warships in the Persian Gulf, an apparent reference to United States warships which have been conducting naval maneuvers in the Gulf.
The first question being can they do this? Can they shut down the Straights of Hormuz? I don't believe they can do it for a long period of time, but they definitely could interdict the trafficabillity of the straights. Since the 1980's they have threatened this and done it from time to time. Their high speed attack boats and mines were semi-successful in the 1980's until the US Navy directly intervened and began safe guarding the Straits and the Gulf. But why this talk now?
Theres two reasons why the Iranian's have gone this direction. The first is the ability to wave their saber right now in front of their neighbors. They have turned down the offer of freeze for freeze, and now need to solidify their position and their aspirations towards being a regional power. The one way that they can, is the same way they always have, and that is to be a neighborhood bully. They may not be able to close them down, The Straights, for the amount of time they want, but the threat towards the US and the EU is a way for them to build face amongst their regional neighbors.
The second reason is by threatening the Straights of Hormuz they can hope to effect the price of oil. As we have seen over the last couple of months, with any instability in the region, the price has jumped up. Now with prices coming down, it is a way for them to fire back at the West, and try to raise the price again. Also, if they raise it right now, they can effect the price of oil leading up to Labor Day. They are not stupid, life would be much easier if they were.
As I have said before, Sanctions must be put in place by the UN Security Council, ALL nations must adhere to them and they must be strictly enforced, and the people of Iran need to change their leaders. That is the only way we can see long term stability and change within Iran. The UN, EU, and the US can only do so much, it is up to the people of Iran now.
God Bless America
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