Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Calling The 6th Fleet

No oil will be allowed to pass through the Strait of Hormuz if the West applies sanctions on Iran's oil exports, Iranian Vice-President Mohammad Reza Rahimi has warned.

The threat was reported on Tuesday by the state news agency IRNA as Iran conducted its fourth day of naval drills near the Strait of Hormuz, at the entrance to the oil-rich Gulf.
"If sanctions are adopted against Iranian oil, not a drop of oil will pass through the Strait of Hormuz," Rahimi was quoted as saying.

"We have no desire for hostilities or violence ... but the West doesn't want to go back on its plan" to impose sanctions, he said. "The enemies will only drop their plots when we put them back in their place."

The threat underlined Iran's readiness to target the narrow stretch of water along its Gulf coast if it is attacked or economically strangled by Western sanctions.
More than one-third of the world's tanker-borne oil passes through the Strait of Hormuz. The US maintains a navy presence in the Gulf in large part to ensure that passage remains free.

Look for gasoline prices to spike and for everyone in the region to get a little more nervous. Iran does not have the capacity to go toe-to-toe with the resources the US and her allies can bring to the area. The Republican Guard can cause lots of trouble though with RPGs launched from small boats. Mining the Straights of Hormuz is not much of an option for Iran as the US has more than enough anti-mine assets to handle that issue.

This may play out like the last time that Iran got frisky in the region with US warships providing oil tankers escort services. But the real issue here is how the ratcheting of tensions in the Gulf could lead to a war of choice against the Islamic Republic of Iran. The lack of diplomatic channels between Iran and the US make a misstep ever more likely.
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