Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Deputy Commander Ali Nouri claimed over the week-end that if enemies block the export of Iranian oil, Iran won’t allow a drop of oil to pass through the Strait of Hormuz, an area where roughly 35% of all sea transported oil travels or 20% of all worldwide oil.
“The Supreme authorities have insisted that if enemies block the export of our oil, we won’t allow a drop of oil to pass through the Strait of Hormuz. This is the strategy of the Islamic Republic in countering such threats” Commander Nouri said to the Khorsan Daily.
Last week President Obama approved new sanctions against Iran that are focused on reducing Iran’s ability to sell their oil on the international market. The sanctions come in response to Iran’s defiance to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency about the true motives behind their nuclear program.
Iran continues to deny that they are enriching uranium to develop a nuclear weapon, insisting they only seek nuclear reactors for energy and research.
However, the International Atomic Energy Agency presented a report in 2011 on Iran’s nuclear program which mentioned concerns that Iran is secretly working to develop a nuclear weapon.
Preparing for a Bellicose Iran
Concerned about an ascendant nuclear powered Iran in their backyard, gulf monarchies have forged together against Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Some gulf countries are even preparing for the future possibility of war.
In late December 2011 Saudi Arabia made its largest purchase of U.S. weapons which has benefited companies such as Boeing.
The European Union demonstrated some unabashed willingness to join the United States in banning Iranian oil while France has led a movement to to freeze Iranian assets in Europe.
However, a Reuters article published two days ago suggests that some countries in Europe want to delay a plan to ban oil from Iran because of concerns that an adjustment in the price of oil because of fears that sanctions could harm their own fragile economies. The EU imports 18% of Iranian oil, mostly for Southern Europe.
Rising Cost of Crude Oil
The price of crude oil has risen 20% since Iran threatened last week to shoot down a U.S. navy ship, the USS John Stennis, in the Strait of Hormuz. The United States dismissed Iran’s threat. The price of rising oil is seen as a positive development in Iran which relies heavily on oil subsidies.
U.S. Joint Chief of Staffs Chairman General Martin Dempsey told CBS’S Face the Nation on Sunday that Iran has the ability to block the Strait of Hormuz “for a period of time.” But the U.S. would respond to any attack. “We’ve invested in capabilities to ensure that if it happens, we can defeat that” Dempsey said.
Iran Claims to be Soon Enriching Uranium
Iran’s nuclear chief, Fereidoun Abbasi, claimed on Saturday that Iran will “soon” begin enrichment at Fordo Facility, an underground site in the mountains outside of Qom, a religious city. Fordo Facility is protected by 300 feet (90 meters) of mountain rock and was designed to survive possible air-strikes. The Fordo Facility is smaller that Iran’s primary enrichment site in another region of Iran. Locations of Iran’s Nuclear Program can be found here.