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Iran – Will They or Will They Not Close the Strait of Hormuz?

Acts of War?

Closing the Strait of Hormuz is very easy for Iranian naval forces,” Admiral Habibollah Sayyari told Iranian state-run Press TV. “Iran has comprehensive control over the strategic waterway.” He also boasted “that closing the Strait of Hormuz to oil traffic would be “easier than drinking a glass of water,” a phrase often used by Iranians referring to an easy task. If Iran does provoke an incident in the Strait, the US military could issue a warning that if Iran’s ships came out from the coastline it would be considered an act of war.

From The Total Collapse, a web site that is certainly pro-Iranian, we get this, “On the last day of 2011, US President Barack Obama Saturday signed into law measures penalizing foreign financial institutions doing business with Iran’s central bank, Bank Markazi – the toughest sanctions imposed yet over Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon. In recent weeks Tehran has repeatedly warned that it would deem the signing of this measure an act of war and respond with drastic steps including the closure of the Strait of Hormuz.” They also have this link prominently displayed: “Zionists Funded Both Hitler & Churchill”. Are the writers at this site crazy? You decide.

Iranian Navy Commodore Mahmoud Mousavi said that the 10 days of war games were to end Monday with all ships and submarines exercising a new tactic to practise the closure of the strait “if Iran’s navy so chooses.”

On February 16, 2010, Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said that if Iran threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, this act of war seriously threatens the region. This is something that does not belong to the Kingdom, but only for the countries of the world and America and is an act of war against international peace.

Yes, They Will

As of December 29, 2011, Iran threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, which is used by 40 per cent of the world’s oil tankers, in retaliation for economic sanctions imposed on the country over its nuclear program. The Bahrain-based US 5th Fleet’s spokeswoman warned that any disruption “will not be tolerated.” The spokeswoman, Lt. Rebecca Rebarich, said the US Navy is “always ready to counter malevolent actions to ensure freedom of navigation.”

On Thursday, December 29, 2011, two American warships entered a zone of the Strait of Hormuz being used by the Iranian navy for war games. The aircraft carrier USS John C Stennis and the guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay “conducted a pre-planned, routine transit through the strait on Tuesday.” Meanwhile, as part of its military exercise, Iran successfully test fired a medium-range surface-to-air missile. “This medium-range surface-to-air missile is equipped with the latest technology to combat radar-evading targets and intelligent systems which try to disrupt missile navigation,” Commodore Mahmoud Mousavi was quoted as saying. He also said it was the first time Iran had tested the missile, which was “domestically designed and built.” Whether the missile was fired from a ship or from land, as well as other details about the missile, including the distance it can fly, were not given. Iran attempted to buy long-range surface to air missiles from Russia, but after Moscow canceled the deal to sell its S-300 missiles last year, Tehran said it would develop its own as an independent deterrent against attack. The test launch appeared designed to show Iran was making progress.

No, They Will Not

As of Saturday, December 31, 2011, Iran backed down from its earlier threats to block the strategic oil route through the Strait of Hormuz, apparently confirming U.S. assertions that such threats packed more “bluster” than bite. A State Department spokesman said Tuesday, December 27, 2011, that “obviously there’s an element of bluster” to some of the Iranian comments. This is another argument for domestic drilling. If Iran were to close the Strait of Hormuz (or even slow traffic through it), it would disrupt 20% of the worlds oil shipments. If we were able to make up the difference with domestically produced oil, it would diminish or eliminate Iran’s leverage.

Nuclear Power?

Iranian scientists announced Sunday, January 1, 2012, that they have produced the nation’s first nuclear fuel rod, a feat of engineering of which the West has doubted Tehran’s capability. This announcement marks another step in Tehran’s efforts to achieve proficiency in the entire nuclear fuel cycle. Iran’s claim was made despite UN sanctions and measures by the US and others to get it to halt aspects of its atomic work that could provide a possible pathway to weapons production. The US and some of its European allies accuse Iran of using its nuclear program as a cover to develop atomic weapons. Iran denies the charge, saying the program is for peaceful purposes only.

Based on the amount of low-enriched uranium Iran has stockpiled, and the amount it is believed to be producing each month, estimates are that by December 2008, Iran had accumulated enough U-235 to fuel one bomb, assuming Iran decided to further enrich the low-enriched material to weapon-grade. Further estimates are that by the end of 2009, Iran had enough U-235 to fuel a second bomb; that Iran had enough of this material for a third bomb by August 2010; that Iran had enough of this material for a fourth bomb by April 2011; and that Iran had enough of this material for a fifth bomb by November 2011. Each estimate assumed that Iran decided to raise the level of U-235 in its low-enriched uranium stockpile (3.5 percent U-235) to weapon-grade (90 percent or more U-235).

Iranian military exercises come a few weeks before European Union foreign ministers meet to consider further sanctions, possibly including an oil embargo against Tehran, after an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report in November, 2011, confirmed western allegations that Iran had worked on nuclear weapons designs, at least until 2003, and may have carried out experiments more recently.

Let’s see. Iran starts all of this activity just after Obama pulls the last troops out of Iraq. Coincidence or timing?

But that’s just my opinion.

Access to other articles like this one can be found at RWNO, my personal web site.

Rich Mitchell is the Sr. Managing Editor of Conservative Daily News. His posts may contain opinions that are his own and are not necessarily shared by Anomalous Media, CDN, staff or .. much of anyone else. Find him on twitter, facebook and google+
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  1. DJ Redman says:

    Warren has written good article raising the question of whether Iran is full of bluster as in the past, or will actually “try” to close the straight of Hormuz. Interesting development is that the EU Foreign Ministers are meeting to discuss an oil embargo against Iran. This is what seems to be Iran’s greatest concern, not the U.S. led sanctions against the Iran Central bank as many in the media are implying. The truth is that Obama had the Senate change the Iran sanctions amendment in the NDAA to…. wait for it…. allow Obama to give “waivers” to any country he wants to allow to continue to do business with Iran. This takes the teeth out of the law, makes Congress irrelevant, and gives that power to the President. Check out the article here on CDN about the NDAA bill sitting on his desk while Iran gets more aggressive for more info.

  2. mike says:

    Iran must feel confident that they have enough subversive assets scattered all over the middle east to begin some conventional naval war fare sabre rattling. The US Navy in an engagement with them would sink most of their Navy & at minimum clear out land military assets that would jeopordize commerse ships from passing through the straights to put Iranian fire power out of range. It would be most unfortunate though because terrorism would increase through out the region as a result to such an engagement is what I would imagine. My best guess is that in due time this sort of conduct will increase in frequency rather than be an anomoly of blusterous proportions. Hopefully my estimation is wrong though for the sake of peace…