Escalation: Iran To Close Strait if Further Sanctioned
Iran also announces additional war games exercises.
January 9, 2012 - 8:00 am
The war of words between Iran and the United States escalated dangerously Sunday over the Islamic regime’s determination to develop nuclear weapons.
The Iranian leadership officially ordered its military commanders to close the Strait of Hormuz should Western sanctions be implemented on Iranian oil. Iran also announced it would be conducting ground war games, which would complement their recent naval war games intended to show they have the capacity to shut down the Strait.
About 35 percent of the world’s seaborne oil supply moves through the Strait of Hormuz — closing the strait would damage economies worldwide and cause gasoline prices to soar.
The United States responded that it will not allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons — Defense Secretary Leon Panetta stated that such a development was a “red line” for the United States. General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned that the United States has the ability to reopen the strait should Iran close it:
We made very clear that the United States will not tolerate the blocking of the Straits of Hormuz. … That’s another red line for us and that we will respond to them.
Britain has chosen to send its most sophisticated warship, the HMS Daring, to the Persian Gulf. The destroyer is fitted with new technology that gives it the ability to shoot down any missile in the Iranian armory.
Hadi Mohammadi, political deputy of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, made the announcement regarding the escalation. He told Iranian newspaper Khorasan that the Guards have received orders from the highest authority in the Islamic regime to close the Strait of Hormuz:
Iran cannot remain indifferent to the actions by the West and their threats in implementing sanctions on Iran’s oil. … The Strait of Hormuz is within the strategic space of the Islamic Republic, and the leadership is determined to not allow a drop of oil to pass through if our oil exports are affected.
In reference to the recent naval war games held by the Iranian navy in the strait and the Persian Gulf, and the upcoming war games to be held in the same waterways by the Revolutionary Guards, Mohammadi emphasized:
[Iran has] shown and will show the enemy that without a doubt, our forces are capable of closing this strategic waterway to the world.
Mohammadi added that this new doctrine is based on the orders of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to Iran’s armed forces. He continued:
We will respond to threats with threats but also that we will not always wait for the threats by the enemy to respond.