Page 51 of 55 FirstFirst ... 41474849505152535455 LastLast
Results 1,001 to 1,020 of 1100

Thread: Iran the Next Battlefield - Thread Renamed

  1. #1001
    Expatriate American Patriot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    A Banana Republic, Central America
    Posts
    48,597
    Thanks
    78
    Thanked 27 Times in 27 Posts

    Default Re: Iran the Next Battlefield - Thread Renamed

    December 28, 2011 10:33 AM



    U.S. Navy: Hormuz disruption won't be tolerated



    Iran's navy chief Adm. Habibollah Sayyari briefs media on an upcoming naval exercise, in a press conference in Tehran, Iran, Thursday, Dec. 22, 2011. (Hamed Jafarnejad,AP Photo/Fars News Agency)


    (CBS/AP) The U.S. Navy said any attempts to block the Strait of Hormuz would "not be tolerated," after Iranian officials threatened to choke off the key oil supply route.
    Iran's navy chief warned Wednesday that his country can easily close the strategic strait at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, the passageway through which a sixth of the world's oil flows.
    It was the second such warning in two days. On Tuesday, Vice President Mohamed Reza Rahimi threatened to close the strait, cutting off oil exports, if the West imposes sanctions on Iran's oil shipments.
    "Closing the Strait of Hormuz is very easy for Iranian naval forces," Adm. Habibollah Sayyari told state-run Press TV. "Iran has comprehensive control over the strategic waterway," the navy chief said.
    Iran threatens Strait of Hormuz, vital oil route
    In response, the Bahrain-based U.S. 5th Fleet's spokeswoman warned that any disruption "will not be tolerated." The spokeswoman, Lt. Rebecca Rebarich, said the U.S. Navy is "always ready to counter malevolent actions to ensure freedom of navigation."
    With concern growing over a possible drop-off in Iranian oil supplies, a senior Saudi oil official said Gulf Arab nations are ready to offset any loss of Iranian crude.
    That reassurance led to a drop in world oil prices. In New York, benchmark crude fell 77 cents to $100.57 a barrel in morning trading. Brent crude fell 82 cents to $108.45 a barrel in London.
    The Iranian threats underline Tehran's concern that the West is about to impose new sanctions that could target the country's vital oil industry and exports.
    Western nations are growing increasingly impatient with Iran over its nuclear program. The U.S. and its allies have accused Iran of using its civilian nuclear program as a cover to develop nuclear weapons. Iran has denied the charges, saying its program is geared toward generating electricity and producing medical radioisotopes to treat cancer patients.
    The U.S. Congress has passed a bill banning dealings with the Iran Central Bank, and President Barack Obama has said he will sign it despite his misgivings. Critics warn it could impose hardships on U.S. allies and drive up oil prices.
    The bill could impose penalties on foreign firms that do business with Iran's central bank. European and Asian nations import Iranian oil and use its central bank for the transactions.
    With concern growing over a possible drop-off in Iranian oil supplies, a senior Saudi oil official said Gulf Arab nations are ready to step in if necessary and offset any potential loss of Iranian crude in the world markets.
    Reflecting unease over the rising tensions, the U.S. benchmark crude futures contract for February delivery was above $101 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Its London-based Brent counterpart fell slightly, but still remained above $109 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.
    Iran is the world's fourth-largest oil producer, with an output of about 4 million barrels of oil a day. It relies on oil exports for about 80 percent of its public revenues.
    Iran has adopted an aggressive military posture in recent months in response to increasing threats from the U.S. and Israel that they may take military action to stop Iran's nuclear program.
    The navy is in the midst of a 10-day drill in international waters near the strategic oil route. The exercises began Saturday and involve submarines, missile drills, torpedoes and drones. The war games cover a 1,250-mile stretch of sea off the Strait of Hormuz, northern parts of the Indian Ocean and into the Gulf of Aden near the entrance to the Red Sea as a show of strength and could bring Iranian ships into proximity with U.S. Navy vessels in the area.
    Iranian media are describing how Iran could move to close the strait, saying the country would use a combination of warships, submarines, speed boats, anti-ship cruise missiles, torpedoes, surface-to-sea missiles and drones to stop ships from sailing through the narrow waterway.
    Iran's navy claims it has sonar-evading submarines designed for shallow waters of the Persian Gulf, enabling it to hit passing enemy vessels.
    A closure of the strait could temporarily cut off some oil supplies and force shippers to take longer, more expensive routes that would drive oil prices higher. It also potentially opens the door for a military confrontation that would further rattle global oil markets.
    Iran claimed a victory this month when it captured an American surveillance drone almost intact. It went public with its possession of the RQ-170 Sentinel to trumpet the downing as a feat of Iran's military in a complicated technological and intelligence battle with the U.S.
    American officials have said that U.S. intelligence assessments indicate the drone malfunctioned.
    Last edited by American Patriot; December 28th, 2011 at 19:18.
    Libertatem Prius!


    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.




  2. #1002
    Expatriate American Patriot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    A Banana Republic, Central America
    Posts
    48,597
    Thanks
    78
    Thanked 27 Times in 27 Posts

    Default Re: Iran the Next Battlefield - Thread Renamed

    It looks like this is the leading news item on Google right now.

    (the threats to close Hormuz and the threats to keep it open)
    Libertatem Prius!


    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.




  3. #1003
    Expatriate American Patriot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    A Banana Republic, Central America
    Posts
    48,597
    Thanks
    78
    Thanked 27 Times in 27 Posts

    Default Re: Iran the Next Battlefield - Thread Renamed

    from the new york slimes....

    Noise Level Rises Over Iran Threat to Close Strait of Hormuz

    By RICK GLADSTONE

    Published: December 28, 2011







    Iran and the United States elevated the belligerent tone between them on Wednesday over an Iranian vow to close the Strait of Hormuz, a vital Middle East waterway for oil tanker traffic, if Western powers attempted to make good on their threat to stifle Iran’s petroleum exports.

    Related





    Connect With Us on Twitter

    Follow @nytimesworld for international breaking news and headlines.



    Rear Adm. Habibollah Sayyari, Iran’s naval commander, said that “Iran has total control over the strategic waterway,” and that “Closing the Strait of Hormuz is very easy for Iranian naval forces,” in remarks carried by Press TV, an official Iranian news site. Admiral Sayyari, whose forces are in the midst of an ambitious war-games exercise in waters near the Strait of Hormuz, was the second top Iranian official to make such a threat in 24 hours.
    Both the Defense Department and the United States Navy’s Fifth Fleet, which is based in Bahrain and patrols the Strait of Hormuz, responded to Admiral Sayyari’s remarks in statements that suggested American warships would stop the Iranians if necessary.
    “The free flow of goods and services through the Strait of Hormuz is vital to regional and global prosperity,” Lt. Rebecca Rebarich, a spokeswoman for the Fifth Fleet command in Manama, Bahrain, said in an emailed response. “Anyone who threatens to disrupt freedom of navigation in an international strait is clearly outside the community of nations; any disruption will not be tolerated.”
    The statement also said “The U.S. Navy is a flexible, multi-capable force committed to regional security and stability, always ready to counter malevolent actions to ensure freedom of navigation.”
    George Little, the Pentagon press secretary, issued a similar warning, but he also pointed out that the Pentagon was “unaware of any aggressive or hostile action directed against U.S. ships” at this time.
    France weighed in with a reaction to the Iranian threat as well, calling on Iran to respect international law regarding the strait, which is 21 miles wide at its narrowest point and separates Oman and Iran. Bernard Valero, a spokesman for France’s Foreign Ministry, told reporters at a regular news briefing: “The Strait of Hormuz is an international strait. As a result, all ships regardless of their nationality benefit from the right of transit in line with the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and international maritime customs.”
    On Tuesday, Iran’s vice president, Mohammad Reza-Rahimi, was the first top Iranian official to explicitly threaten to close the Strait, saying that if Western powers “impose sanctions on Iran’s oil exports, then even one drop of oil cannot flow from the Strait of Hormuz.”
    The catalyst for the Iranian threats are new efforts underway by the United States and European Union to pressure Iran into disbanding its nuclear program, which Iran has refused to do despite four rounds of sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council.
    Those sanctions have not targeted Iran’s oil exports, the world’s third largest. But in recent weeks, the European Union has talked openly of imposing a boycott on Iranian oil, and President Obama is preparing to sign legislation that, if fully enforced, could impose harsh penalties on all buyers of Iran’s oil, with the aim of severely impeding Iran’s ability to sell it. If successful, the measure would create onerous new pressure on the Iranian economy, which is already fraying from the accumulated effects of the other sanctions.
    Iran has said its uranium enrichment is purely peaceful, but an International Atomic Energy Agency report issued last month suggested that Iran may be working on a nuclear weapon and a missile delivery system for it. The United States and its allies have said that a nuclear-armed Iran would be unacceptable.
    The Strait of Hormuz, with two mile-wide channels for commercial shipping, connects the Sea of Oman to the Persian Gulf, the principal loading point for oil shipped from Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter. The Strait carried 33 percent of all oil shipped by sea in 2009 and nearly 20 percent of all oil traded worldwide, according to the United States Energy Information Administration, which has called it the world’s most important “oil chokepoint.”
    Markets seemed to shrug off Iran’s threats. On Wednesday, the price of the benchmark crude oil contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange fell for the first time in more than week and was trading at just below $100 a barrel at midday.
    Elisabeth Bumiller contributed reporting from Washington.
    Libertatem Prius!


    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.




  4. #1004
    Expatriate American Patriot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    A Banana Republic, Central America
    Posts
    48,597
    Thanks
    78
    Thanked 27 Times in 27 Posts

    Default Re: Iran the Next Battlefield - Thread Renamed

    Iran's threats over Strait of Hormuz? Understandable, but not easy

    Iran has issued two threats that it could close the Strait of Hormuz, reminding the world how it could spike oil prices if the US or Israel attacks. But it wouldn't be easy.


    By Dan Murphy, Staff writer / December 28, 2011






    Strait of Hormuz easily closed: Iranian submarines and warships participate in navy drill in the Sea of Oman Wednesday. Iran's navy chief warned that his country can easily close the strategic Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, the passageway through which a sixth of the world's oil flows.
    Mohammad Ali Marizad/Young Journalists Club/AP

    Enlarge


    Tweet
    0


    The boasting from an Iranian admiral today that it would be "easy" to close the Strait of Hormuz the Red Sea chokepoint for much of the world's oil tankers should be treated as just that.





    "Closing the Strait of Hormuz is very easy for Iranian naval forces," Iran's navy chief Habibollah Sayyari told state-run propaganda channel Press TV.

    "Iran has comprehensive control over the strategic waterway." His comments followed similar words from Vice President Reza Rohimi yesterday, and an announcement a few weeks ago that the Iranian navy would be conducting military exercises to simulate shutting the Strait of Hormuz, through which 40 percent of world's sea-borne oil passes.
    How serious is this? Sure, the price of oil jumped (traders love the market action, and you have to wonder if the Iranian government had bought oil futures before their state media started hyping this story). But prices are settling back as fear and panic are being replaced with reasoned reflection: A threat to do something isn't a promise that it will happen. A threat is often, as in this case, a way to send a strategic message. Iran is responding to the bellicose rhetoric that's emanated from the US and Israel in recent weeks by saying "we can make you suffer if provoked."
    RECOMMENDED: Four attacks that have been blamed on Iran

    Could they? Sure. Iranian moves to close the Strait, perhaps by sinking a tanker, would cause oil prices to skyrocket, increase the threat of a broader regional war, and create weeks of uncertainty. It's one of the reasons that a war between the US and Iran, started by either party, seems unlikely. Both economies would be badly damaged.
    But if it comes to war could they "close" the Strait? Not for very long.
    The US 5th Fleet would stand opposed, as would a number of European powers, whose own faltering economies would topple into outright depression were flows of Gulf oil to the Mediterranean stopped.
    Easy? No. "Comprehensive control?" No. Iran spends about $8 billion a year on its military, or about an 80th of US spending. Even European military spending dwarfs Iran's. If France, Germany, and the UK's military expenditures are combined, they spend about 20 times what Iran does. While the publics of the US and Europe may be war-weary, closing the Strait of Hormuz would be an economic catastrophe that would see a massive amount of naval force brought to bear on Iran and probably consideration of missile attacks on political and military leaders ashore. Iran's leaders know all this, whatever bluster to the contrary.
    During the so-called Tanker War between the Iranians and Iraqis during the 1980s, shipping in the Strait was severely threatened by both sides. Both countries sought to deprive the other of oil revenue, and attacked the boats of neutral parties as well as their direct enemies. All of that drove up the price of oil and shipping insurance, but didn't ever close the Strait of Hormuz. Eventually, the US Navy began escorting ships through the Strait, concerned about the global price of oil.
    None of this is to say that all the war talk on both sides isn't frightening, or a reason for concern. And it's not to say that Iran couldn't do substantial damage to tanker traffic through the Strait if it comes to war. But the Islamic Republic simply does not have its hands on the spigot for 40 percent of the world's tanker oil, no matter how much it wishes that it did.
    Libertatem Prius!


    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.




  5. #1005
    Expatriate American Patriot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    A Banana Republic, Central America
    Posts
    48,597
    Thanks
    78
    Thanked 27 Times in 27 Posts

    Default Re: Iran the Next Battlefield - Thread Renamed

    America warns Iran that blocking oil route will 'not be tolerated'

    Tensions mount between US and Iran as Fifth Fleet warns that any attempt to block Strait of Hormuz will elicit naval response





    • Paul Harris in New York
    • guardian.co.uk, Iranian navy soldiers take part in a military exercise in the Strait of Homruz on Wednesday Photograph: Ali Mohammadi/EPA

      Tensions between the United States and Iran have dangerously ratcheted up as naval officials with America's Fifth Fleet warned any attempt by Iran to close a strategically vital oil route through the Strait of Hormuz would "not be tolerated".
      The news heightens a sense of growing crisis in the Persian Gulf after two days of threats by senior Iranian figures that they might shut down the important trade route in response to any future international sanctions against the country's oil exports.
      "Anyone who threatens to disrupt freedom of navigation in an international strait is clearly outside the community of nations: any disruption will not be tolerated," US Fifth Fleet spokeswoman Lt Rebecca Rebarich told the Associated Press. She added that the US Navy was "...always ready to counter malevolent actions to ensure freedom of navigation."
      The Fifth Fleet is based in the tiny Gulf state of Bahrain and commands a huge flotilla of American naval might, including air craft carriers.
      That US response came shortly after the head of the Iranian Navy warned that the country could easily close the Strait of Hormuz if it desired to do so.
      "Closing the Strait of Hormuz is very easy for Iranian naval forces... it will be easier than drinking a glass of water," Admiral Habibollah Sayyari told the state-run Press TV channel. However, he did add that Iran currently had no plans to carry out the act.
      But the war of words theoretically raises the prospect of a naval conflict in the Gulf between Iran and the United States. Sayyari's statement came just a day after Iran's vice president, Mohamed Reza Rahimi, also threatened to use force to shut the waterway and cut off a flow of oil that many see as vital for the world economy.
      They also come as Iran is conducting large naval exercises in the region in what many analysts see as a show of force. The war games stretch over a large area of the Gulf, including the Strait of Hormuz, and could easily bring Iranian ships and submarines into close proximity with US forces.
      Iran is reacting to what it says is an unfair campaign to punish it for its domestic nuclear programme, which it claims is peaceful but which many believe is actually aimed at creating a weapon.
      The US Congress has passed a bill banning dealings with the Iran Central Bank which President Barack Obama has said he will sign. If that happens the new US law could hit foreign companies that deal with Iran's central bank in order to buy oil, striking a blow at a commodity that makes up about 80% of its foreign revenues and is vital for the functioning of the Iranian economy.
      The oil markets are already jittery about the latest developments. As the oil price ticked up in the face of the bellicose comments Saudi officials said that they would release more oil in the event of any crisis to make up for a loss of Iranian crude. That effort seemed to help calm oil traders' fears.
      The current rising tensions are also merely the latest in a series of serious spats between Iran and Western nations. Earlier this month Iran captured an unmanned US spy drone, broadcasting pictures of the downed craft that created headlines around the world and represented a major intelligence coup. In November violent crowds in Tehran stormed the British embassy and ransacked offices and residences. That led to the closure of the embassy and the expulsion of Iranian diplomats from Britain.
      Iranian media has carried detailed reports of how it might act to close the Strait, deploying a mix of ships, submarines, missiles and torpedoes. Few experts believe that any Iranian force could stand up to the US military but any form of armed conflict would likely trigger a global diplomatic and economic crisis.
      It would also play out against a backdrop of concerted Israeli efforts to warn against Iran's nuclear programme, which the nation believes represents a threat to its existence. Isreali military and political figures have
      consistently threatened that armed strikes against Iran might be needed to stop the development of an Iranian nuclear bomb.

    Libertatem Prius!


    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.




  6. #1006
    Expatriate American Patriot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    A Banana Republic, Central America
    Posts
    48,597
    Thanks
    78
    Thanked 27 Times in 27 Posts

    Default Re: Iran the Next Battlefield - Thread Renamed

    An accelerating covert war with Iran: Could it spiral into military action?

    The Stuxnet worm and other covert measures appear designed to slow Iran's progress toward a nuclear bomb. But US 'miscalculations' could raise the likelihood of a costly showdown, some experts warn.


    By Howard LaFranchi, Staff writer / December 28, 2011






    A US RQ-170 unmanned spy plane seen after being intercepted by Iran. Are 'miscalculations' like this by the US bound to cause a costly showdown with Iran?
    Sepah News.ir/Reuters/File

    Enlarge


    Tweet
    0

    Washington

    When a sophisticated American spy drone went missing a month ago and fell into the Iranian military's hands, what had been whispered speculation at the end of the Bush administration became an all-but-officially acknowledged conclusion: The United States, along with a few key allies, is involved in an accelerating covert war with Iran.




    Related stories


    Topics





    It's an example of what some are calling "21st-century warfare," given the deployment of cyberworms instead of soldiers and mysterious explosions at key military installations instead of aerial bombardment.
    RECOMMENDED: Four attacks that have been blamed on Iran

    The overarching goal is to slow, if not reverse, Iran's apparent progress toward developing a nuclear bomb – something international diplomacy and a series of economic sanctions have not been able to accomplish. The measures also appear designed to put off the need for a military attack to stop Iran from joining the nuclear club.
    The US, Israel, and Britain are thought to be involved in this unacknowledged war. While many actions go unclaimed, the intensification is occurring as the Obama administration signals a hardening stance toward Tehran.
    An on again, off again war for 30 years

    "We've been intermittently fighting a cold war with Iran for three decades, and the covert aspect of it has increased substantially in the last few years," says Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran analyst at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington. "Both President Bush and President Obama seemed to calculate that covert means can be effective in delaying Iran's nuclear progress, and at a fraction of the political and economic costs of a military attack."
    Yet as incidents in an intensifying cold war multiply, with Iran appearing to ratchet up its response, more experts and former intelligence officers who specialize in Iran are cautioning that a spiraling tit-for-tat covert war risks becoming a hot conflict.
    "I'm skeptical about any meaningful impact these kinds of actions have, except perhaps the significant effect of making the people involved more hard-line and determined than they were before," says Matthew Bunn, a nuclear proliferation expert at Harvard University's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs in Cambridge, Mass. "It's hard to see how this kind of covert activity is really going to change anything, except for the worse."
    Add to the mix the rising political temperature in the US, with Republican presidential candidates trying to outdo one another on how much tougher they would be on Iran than Mr. Obama. Some Iran analysts warn of increased opportunities for "miscalculations" that could result in a potentially costly showdown.
    "The kinds of covert actions we're seeing now are all double-edged swords," says Barbara Slavin, a senior fellow at the At­lantic Council's South Asia Center in Wash­ington, "because if something goes wrong you could be in an overt war situation."
    With the administration under political pressure and sounding increasingly hawkish about Iran, she adds, "The trick will now be getting to November without a war."
    Tensions with Iran heightened this week, although not because of covert activity. Rather, the US is close to enacting sanctions that would target Iran’s oil revenue – and Iran has responded by threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz, through which a sixth of the world’s oil flows. However, the US has a plan to keep the strait open, according to a New York Times report.


    An accelerating covert war with Iran: Could it spiral into military action?

    The Stuxnet worm and other covert measures appear designed to slow Iran's progress toward a nuclear bomb. But US 'miscalculations' could raise the likelihood of a costly showdown, some experts warn.


    (Page 2 of 2)


    Tweet
    0

    In recent months, tensions have also heightened with a string of mysterious and unclaimed activities in Iran. The recent drone incident was the latest of those activities.




    Related stories


    Topics





    Other incidents have included the use of computer worms to attack Iran's nuclear installations, including the Stuxnet virus that in 2010 was thought to have destroyed more than a thousand of Iran's uranium-enriching centrifuges by causing them to spin out of control. Several Iranian nuclear scientists have been assassinated, and in November explosions ripped through the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' ballistic missile base near Tehran. Seventeen people were killed, including one of the IRGC's top officers in the missile development program.
    In October, the Obama administration accused Iran of plotting to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to Washington, an alleged plot that some Iran analysts see as an Iranian effort to hit back. The storming of Britain's Embassy in Tehran in late November and a December explosion outside Britain's Embassy in Bahrain may be other signals of Iran's intention to respond to covert fire.
    Yet if the covert activity is designed to slow Iran's nuclear progress, many doubt it will work. As damaging as Stuxnet may have been, it did not curtail Iran's enrichment activity permanently, experts say. And Iran is thought to have many more nuclear scientists and missile designers than Western intelligence services could ever eliminate.
    "These programs involve dozens and hundreds of people, so taking out five or 10 is not going to do that much," says Mr. Bunn of Harvard. "If some clandestine force had taken out Gen. [Leslie] Groves in the Manhattan Project, would they have found some other hard-charging officer to lead the project and deliver the bomb? Probably."
    On the other hand, covert action like assassinations can slow a regime's progress toward its aims, Bunn says – for example, by sowing doubt about who within a program may be working for "the other side."
    Does Iran seek confrontation with West?

    Some point to Israel's bombing of Iraq's Osirak reactor in 1981 as evidence that covert activity does not necessarily provide a means of avoiding military action – and may even make it more likely. Iraqi nuclear scientists had been targeted by unknown assailants (assumed to be Israeli operatives), but that did not prevent the airstrike. Research in the years since the attack has largely concluded that while the strike destroyed Osirak, it also prompted Saddam Hussein to push his weapons programs farther underground.
    Iran might even welcome a military confrontation with the West – especially one that strikes its nuclear installations, a source of much national pride. "There is a legitimate concern that Iran may seek to provoke a military conflagration," says Mr. Sadjadpour at the Carnegie Endowment, "in order to try and mend its internal political fissures, both between political elites and between the society and the regime."
    But even some Israeli military experts say that bombing Iran's nuclear installations would at best only put off its race for the bomb – and might harden its determination to build a weapon it claims it isn't developing.
    As Sadjadpour says, "If Iran continues to put all of its political will and vast economic resources behind its nuclear weapons capability, or a nuclear weapon itself, we can at best delay them."
    Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.
    RECOMMENDED: Four attacks that have been blamed on Iran
    Libertatem Prius!


    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.




  7. #1007
    Expatriate American Patriot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    A Banana Republic, Central America
    Posts
    48,597
    Thanks
    78
    Thanked 27 Times in 27 Posts

    Default Re: Iran the Next Battlefield - Thread Renamed

    MarketWatch First Take Archives | Email alerts
    Dec. 28, 2011, 2:44 p.m. EST
    Calling Irans bluff

    Commentary: Oil traders put a lid on Irans threats to shut Hormuz












    By MarketWatch
    SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) Whom are you going to believe?


    Iran is once again making lots of noise about shutting the Strait of Hormuz, the gateway to the Persian Gulf that carries about a third of the worlds oil-tanker traffic.



    Irans vice president claims the Iranians might have to clear shipping from the channel while they conduct a 10-day naval exercise there, a little flexing of military muscle to make the West think twice about slapping an oil embargo on Iran for refusing to unplug its nuclear program.



    The U.S. Fifth Fleet, which uses the same waterway to get to and from its base in Bahrain, says it simply wont tolerate Irans closure of the Hormuz Strait. Period.



    But just in case Iran cant take a hint, Saudi Arabia has assured its friends in the West that its ready to boost output to make sure everyone has enough oil. Never mind that most Saudi oil also goes to market through the Hormuz. Somehow the Saudis figure they can work around that.
    If youre an oil trader, this poses either a huge risk or a golden opportunity. The question is where to put your money.



    For the time being, most traders are betting Iran is bluffing. They ran oil prices up last week and again Tuesday, pushing crude futures past $101 a barrel in New York. But this latest round of saber rattling failed to squeeze any more out of the rally. February oil futures fell Wednesday, moving back below $99 a barrel. Read the latest on oil prices.



    Lets not forget that Iran is a major oil producer and exporter. As a founding member of OPEC, it has also learned over the years how to manipulate oil prices with a few carefully chosen words. These latest threats to halt traffic through the Hormuz, even if just briefly, have already brought the country a windfall in higher oil revenue.



    As for actually shutting the strait, thats another story.



    Blocking the Strait of Hormuz might push oil prices even higher, but it would also disrupt shipping from many of Irans own ports. After all, Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia arent the only ones exporting oil through the strait. One of Irans biggest export terminals, Kharg Island, lies deep within the Gulf. It was a frequent target during the 1984-88 Iran-Iraq Tanker War, when the two nations regularly attacked each others oil shipments.



    Its worth remembering that the Tanker War never shut the Strait of Hormuz. The oil continued to flow.



    In other words, despite open hostilities and a few spectacular explosions, the conflicts net impact on oil markets was negligible. (The impact was much greater in shipping circles, where underwriters, ship owners willing to gamble their vessels and crew, and repair yards in Bahrain made out like bandits.)



    So while theres reason for concern over Irans latest overtures, oil traders appear comfortable with the Hormuz premium theyve already baked into crude prices. That doesnt mean prices arent still vulnerable to warmongering and speculation, but tough talk from the U.S. Navy, assurances from the Saudis and Irans own past behavior suggest this crisis is just about out of gas.



    Jim Jelter
    Libertatem Prius!


    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.




  8. #1008
    Expatriate American Patriot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    A Banana Republic, Central America
    Posts
    48,597
    Thanks
    78
    Thanked 27 Times in 27 Posts

    Default Re: Iran the Next Battlefield - Thread Renamed

    So...

    My take.

    Iran IS bluffing. As usual. They are spewing nonsense in a threatening manner. The US responds with "We won't tolerate you closing the strait".

    Iran will shut up in the next few hours, but will go on with their stupid little war games to try to "impress" someone. All it will do is give the US and allies a bit more intelligence on their operational capabilities.

    IF they do something to TRY to close the strait, the US Fifth Navy will blow their shit outta the ocean.
    Libertatem Prius!


    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.




  9. #1009
    Expatriate American Patriot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    A Banana Republic, Central America
    Posts
    48,597
    Thanks
    78
    Thanked 27 Times in 27 Posts

    Default Re: Iran the Next Battlefield - Thread Renamed

    Iran threats to close Hormuz Strait over sanctions raise tensions over oil prices


    ( IIPA,Ali Mohammadi / Associated Press ) - Iranian navy members take positions during a drill in the Sea of Oman, Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2011. Iran’s navy chief warned Wednesday that his country can easily close the strategic Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, the passageway through which a sixth of the world’s oil flows. The navy is in the midst of a 10-day drill in international waters near the strategic oil route.








    By Associated Press, Updated: Wednesday, December 28, 11:13 AM


    TEHRAN, Iran — The U.S. warned Iran on Wednesday it will not tolerate any disruption of traffic through the Strait of Hormuz after Iran threatened to choke off the vital Persian Gulf oil transport route if Washington imposes sanctions targeting its crude exports.


    The increasingly heated exchange raises new tensions in a standoff that has the potential to spark military reprisals and propel oil prices to levels that could batter a global economy already grappling with a European debt crisis.











    Iran’s navy chief boasted Wednesday that it would be “very easy” for his country’s forces to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz, the passage at the mouth of the Persian Gulf through which a sixth of the world’s oil passes daily. It was the second such threat in two days following a warning by Iran’s vice president that Tehran was close


    “Iran has comprehensive control over the strategic waterway,” Adm. Habibollah Sayyari told state-run Press TV, as the country was in the midst of a 10-day military drill near the strategic waterway.


    The comments drew a quick response from the U.S.


    “This is not just an important issue for security and stability in the region, but is an economic lifeline for countries in the Gulf, to include Iran,” Pentagon press secretary George Little said. “Interference with the transit or passage of vessels through the Strait of Hormuz will not be tolerated.”


    Separately, Bahrain-based U.S. Navy 5th Fleet spokeswoman said the Navy is “always ready to counter malevolent actions to ensure freedom of navigation.”


    Iran’s threat to seal off the Gulf, surrounded by oil-rich Gulf states, underlines the depth of worry over the prospect that the Obama administration will go ahead with sanctions over its nuclear program that would severely hit its biggest revenue earner, oil. The sanctions themselves have raised worries that removing Iran’s crude from the market will lead to a spike in oil prices.


    Gulf Arab nations appeared ready to at least ease market tensions. A senior Saudi Arabian oil official told the AP that Gulf Arab nations are ready to step in to offset any potential loss of exports from Iran, which is the world’s fourth largest oil producer. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment on the issue.


    Saudi Arabia, which has been producing about 10 million barrels per day, has an overall production capacity of over 12 million barrels per day and is widely seen as the only OPEC member with sufficient spare capacity to offset major shortages. But Iran — the world’s fourth largest producer — pumps about 4 million barrels per day, meaning that other Gulf states would also have to up their output to offset the decline.


    What remains unclear is what routes the Gulf nations could take to bring that production to market if Iran goes through with its threats.


    About 15 million barrels per day pass through the Hormuz Strait, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. There are some pipelines that could be tapped, but Gulf oil leaders, who met in Cairo on Dec. 24, declined to say whether they had discussed alternate routes or what they may be.


    The Saudi comment, however, appeared to allay some concerns. The U.S. benchmark crude futures contract fell 77 cents in early morning trade on the New York Mercantile Exchange, but still hovered above $100 per barrel.


    U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner played down the Iranian threats as “rhetoric,” saying, “We’ve seen these kinds of comments before.”











    While many analysts believe that Iran’s warnings are little more than posturing, they still highlight both the delicate nature of the oil market, which moves as much on rhetoric as supply and demand fundamentals.


    Iran relies on crude sales for about 80 percent of its of its public revenues, and sanctions or an even pre-emptive measure by Tehran to withhold its crude from the market would already batter its flailing economy.


    IHS Global Insight analyst Richard Cochrane said in a report issued Wednesday that markets are “jittery over the possibility” of Iran’s blockading the strait. But, he said, “such action would also damage Iran’s economy, and risk retaliation from the U.S. and allies that could further escalate instability in the region.”


    “Accordingly, it is not likely to be a decision that the Iranian leadership will take lightly,” he said.


    Earlier sanctions that have targeted the oil and financial sector have added new pressures to the country’s already struggling economy. Government cuts in subsidies on key goods like food and energy have angered Iranians, stoking inflation while the country’s currency is steadily depreciating.


    The impetus behind the subsidies cut plan pushed through parliament by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was to reduce budget costs and would pass money directly to the poor to pay for their needs. But critics have pointed to it as another in a series of bad policy moves by the hardline president.


    So far, Western nations have been unable to agree on sanctions targeting oil exports, even as they argue that Iran is trying to develop a nuclear weapon. Tehran maintains its nuclear program — already the subject of several rounds of sanctions — is purely peaceful.


    The U.S. Congress has passed a bill banning dealings with the Iran Central Bank, a move that would heavily hurt Iran’s ability to export crude. The bill could impose penalties on foreign firms that do business with Iran’s central bank. European and Asian nations use the bank for transactions to import Iranian oil.


    President Barack Obama has said he will sign the bill despite his misgivings. China and Russia have opposed such measures. A likely result of the sanctions would be that oil prices would at least temporarily spike to levels that could weigh heavily on the world economy.


    Closing the Strait of Hormuz would hit even harder. Energy consultant and trader The Schork Group estimated in a report that crude would jump to above $140 per barrel. Conservatives in Iran claim global oil prices will jump to $250 a barrel should the waterway be closed.


    By closing the strait, Iran may aim to send the message that its pain from sanctions will also be felt by others. But it has equally compelling reasons not to try.


    The move would put the country’s hardline regime straight in the cross-hairs of the world, including those nations that have so far been relative allies. Much of Iran’s crude goes to Europe and to Asia.


    “Shutting down the strait ... is the last bullet that Iran has and therefore we have to express some doubt that they would do this and at the same time lose their support from China and Russia,” said analyst Olivier Jakob of Petromatrix in Switzerland.


    Iran has adopted an aggressive military posture in recent months in response to increasing threats from the U.S. and Israel of possible military action to stop Iran’s nuclear program.


    The Iranian navy’s exercises, which began on Saturday, involve submarines, missile drills, torpedoes and drones. A senior Iranian commander said Wednesday that the country’s navy is also planning to test advanced missiles and “smart” torpedoes during the maneuvers.


    The war games cover a 1,250-mile (2,000-kilometer) stretch of sea off the Strait of Hormuz, northern parts of the Indian Ocean and into the Gulf of Aden near the entrance to the Red Sea as a show of strength and could bring Iranian ships into proximity with U.S. Navy vessels in the area.


    Moderate news website, irdiplomacy.ir, says the war games are intended to send a message to the West that Iran is capable of sealing off the waterway.


    “The war games ... are a warning to the West that should oil and central bank sanctions be stepped up, (Iran) is able to cut the lifeblood of the West and Arabs,” it said, adding that the West “should regard the maneuvers as a direct message.”
    ___
    El-Tablawy reported from Cairo. Associated Press writers Adam Schreck in Dubai and Abdullah Shihri in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, contributed.




    Libertatem Prius!


    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.




  10. #1010
    Expatriate American Patriot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    A Banana Republic, Central America
    Posts
    48,597
    Thanks
    78
    Thanked 27 Times in 27 Posts

    Default Re: Iran the Next Battlefield - Thread Renamed

    Hahaha....

    Oil price falls as Saudis trump Iran threat
    (AP) 31 minutes ago


    NEW YORK (AP) Oil prices fell on Wednesday, after Saudi Arabia said it will offset any loss of oil from a threatened Iranian blockade of a crucial tanker route in the Middle East.


    The U.S. Navy warned that any disruption of traffic through the vital Strait of Hormuz "will not be tolerated."


    On Tuesday Iran's vice president said that his country was ready to close the Strait of Hormuz a vital waterway through which a third of the world's tanker traffic flows if western nations embargo the country's oil because of Iran's ongoing nuclear program. The head of the country's navy added on Wednesday that his fleet can block the strait if need be. His comments came as Iran held a 10-day drill in international waters near the strategic route, which is 21 miles wide at its narrowest point.


    A Saudi oil ministry official told The Associated Press that Saudi Arabia and other Gulf producers are ready to provide more oil if Iran tries to block the strait. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the issue. He didn't specify other routes that could be used to transport oil, although they would likely be longer and more expensive for getting crude to the region's customers.


    "Anyone who threatens to disrupt freedom of navigation in an international strait is clearly outside the community of nations; any disruption will not be tolerated," said Lt. Rebecca Rebarich, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet, which is responsible for naval operations in the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea.


    Some analysts think the Iranian threats are more rhetoric than reality. "We doubt political posturing will turn into action," energy consultant and trader Stephen Schork said in a report.


    "Shutting down the strait ... is the last bullet that Iran has and therefore we have to express some doubt that they would do this and at the same time lose their support from China and Russia," said analyst Olivier Jakob of Petromatrix in Switzerland.


    Iran is the fourth largest oil exporter in the world, according to the Energy Department. Most of its crude goes to Asia, with China its biggest customer. Oil provides half of Iran's revenue. Last year that amounted to about $73 billion.


    In New York benchmark crude fell $1.98 to finish at $99.36 a barrel. Brent crude fell $1.71 to end at $107.56 a barrel in London.


    Oil prices were also undercut on Wednesday by persistent worries about Europe and future demand for oil as the region's economy weakens. The European Central Bank said the continent's banks parked a record $590.72 billion overnight with the ECB, reflecting distrust in the European banking system.


    Meanwhile in the U.S. the average pump price of gasoline rose a penny on Wednesday to $3.24 a gallon. That's about 4 cents more than a week ago and 21 cents higher than a year ago.


    In other energy futures trading, heating oil fell 2 cents to finish at $2.89 a gallon, gasoline fell 4 cents to end at $2.65 a gallon and natural gas fell 3 cents to finish the day at $3.08 per 1,000 cubic feet.


    Ali Akbar Dareini in Teheran, Tarek El-Tablawy in Cairo, Abdullah Shihri in Riyadh, Adam Schreck in Dubai and Pablo Gorondi in Budapest contributed to this report.
    Libertatem Prius!


    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.




  11. #1011
    Expatriate American Patriot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    A Banana Republic, Central America
    Posts
    48,597
    Thanks
    78
    Thanked 27 Times in 27 Posts

    Default Re: Iran the Next Battlefield - Thread Renamed

    Factbox: Strait of Hormuz




    Reuters 6:06 a.m. CST, December 28, 2011


    (Reuters) - Here are some details about the Strait of Hormuz, the world's most important oil export route which Iran has threatened to block if it faces sanctions on crude exports:

    WHERE IS THE STRAIT?

    - The channel is a narrow strip of water separating Oman and Iran. It connects the biggest Gulf oil producers, such as Saudi Arabia, with the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea.

    - At its narrowest point, the strait is 21 miles across and consists of 2-mile wide navigable channels for inbound and outbound shipping and a 2-mile-wide buffer zone.

    OIL SHIPMENTS

    - Flows through the Strait in 2009 were roughly 33 percent of all seaborne traded oil (40 percent in 2008), or 17 percent of oil traded worldwide, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

    - Some 15.5 million barrels per day (bpd) passed through in 2009, according to the EIA. U.S. warships patrol the area to ensure the safe passage.

    - Most of the oil exported through the Strait travels to Asia, the United States and Western Europe. About three-quarters of Japan's oil imports and about 50 percent of China's pass through the strait.

    - Two million barrels of oil products are exported through the passage daily, as well as liquefied natural gas.

    ALTERNATIVE ROUTES

    - Industry sources say the United Arab Emirates could soon start pumping oil via a pipeline that would allow it to bypass the Strait. The Abu Dhabi Crude Oil Pipeline project has a capacity of up to 2.5 million bpd.

    -- Other alternate routes could include the deactivated 1.65-million bpd Iraqi Pipeline across Saudi Arabia, and the deactivated 0.5 million-bpd Tapline to Lebanon. Another operational pipeline route for Saudi crude is the Petroline, or "East-West Pipeline."

    STRATEGIC CORRIDOR

    -- Iran had warned on Tuesday it could stop the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz if more sanctions were imposed on the country. EU foreign ministers decided this month to tighten sanctions on Tehran to force it to halt its nuclear work. Iran says it is developing nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

    -- Iran could mine the strait as it did during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. However the U.S. Fifth Fleet, based in Bahrain, protects shipping lanes in the Gulf and nearby. The Fifth Fleet includes aircraft carriers and destroyers.

    -- The Fifth Fleet is responsible for an area that includes the Gulf, Red Sea, Gulf of Oman and parts of the Indian Ocean.

    INCIDENTS IN THE STRAIT

    -- In early 2008 the United States said Iranian boats had threatened its warships after Iranian boats aggressively approached three U.S. Naval ships in the Strait on January 6.

    -- In 1988 the U.S. warship Vincennes, in the Strait, shot down an Iranian airliner, killing all 290 on board, in what Washington said was an accident after crew mistook the plane for a fighter. Tehran called it a deliberate attack.

    -- In November 2010 a U.S. statement that militants were behind a blast on a Japanese tanker in the Strait of Hormuz in July increased concerns about security. The Abdullah Azzam Brigades claimed responsibility for the failed raid on the M.Star. It was the first such militant attack in the Strait.

    Sources: Reuters/International Energy Agency (IEA)/ U.S. EIA http://www.eia.gov/cabs/World_Oil_Tr...ints/Full.html
    Libertatem Prius!


    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.




  12. #1012
    Expatriate American Patriot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    A Banana Republic, Central America
    Posts
    48,597
    Thanks
    78
    Thanked 27 Times in 27 Posts

    Default Re: Iran the Next Battlefield - Thread Renamed

    If Iran Closes Strait of Hormuz, Will It Mean War?

    By David Magee: Subscribe to David's RSS feed
    December 28, 2011 10:17 AM EST
    Iran is talking tough. That's no surprise. But threats that Iran may close the Strait of Hormuz have oil dependent nations including the United States on edge, and for good reason.


    The Strait of Hormuz is the most vital passage for oil tankers in the world. A narrow waterway between the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz has Iran to its north coast and the United Arab Emirates on the south coast. An estimated one-third of the world's oil tanker traffic passes through it.






    We've heard rumblings from Iran before that the ill-eased country might close the Strait of Hormuz. But on Tuesday, Iran's vice president gave a more meaningful warning, saying his country is ready to close the Strait of Hormuz if Western nations impose sanctions on its oil shipments.


    The world, of course, is growing weary over Iran's nuclear program. The U.S. has sanctions against Iran in place alrady, but the Obama administration has been considering new ones, according to The New York Times. The measures would penalize foreign partners from doing business with Iran's central bank which processes payments from oil exports, the newspaper has reported.





    That's why on Wednesday, Iranian Navy chief Adm. Habidollah Sayyari reinforced the country's threat, saying that Iran's Navy is ready, waiting, and capable of blocking the Strait of Hormuz if asked to do so.


    In the U.S. and elsewhere in the world, that would likely mean higher prices at the pump coming at a critical time, considering the American economy is finally gaining steam, albeit at a snail's pace. But higher gas prices have a way of crimping slow-but-sure economic growth.


    The biggest question is whether Iran is just blowing smoke in threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz.


    The U.S. State Department seems to think so, suggesting it saw an "element of bluster" in Iran's threat.


    And another expert thinks it is unlikely that Iran can stop the flow of tankers through the Strait of Hormuz for long, even if it tried.


    "The threat by Iran to close the Strait of Hormuz supported the oil market yesterday, but the effect is fading today as it will probably be empty threats as they cannot stop the flow for a longer period due to the amount of U.S. hardware in the area," said Thorbjoern bak Jensen, an oil analyst with Global Risk Management, in an interview with Reuters.


    The consensus among experts, however, is that yes, Iran could very well close off the Strait of Hormuz. Short of all-out war, it's one of the biggest weapons the country has in its arsenal. And Iran doesn't appear afraid to use it. Yet war-like tactics would be required to close it, says one expert.


    "They would physically have to attack and maintain hold of that property. And everyone in the neighborhood is going to (try to) stop them," said Theodore Karasik, an analyst at the Dubai-based Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis, according to CBS News.


    In other words, Iran's effort to close it wouldn't go down without a fight. And even a temporary closing would force oil tankers to take longer, much more expensive routes which of course would drive oil prices higher, and ultimately, prices at the pump higher. That's why reports suggest that the U.S. has a plan to keep the Strait of Hormuz open.


    Threats of closing the Strait have been made before. In 2008, for instance, Iran's military leader said that if Iran was attacked by the U.S. or Israel it would seal off the Strait of Hormuz to rock oil markets. But the U.S. Navy and Gulf allies suggested such a move would be considered an act of war.


    Such a move may be seen the very same way now. And that's why Iran's threat is such a big concern. We have the means, resources, and apparently a plan to fight back. But we can only hope that Iran is bluffing, since fighting back would be the only option.
    Libertatem Prius!


    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.




  13. #1013
    Expatriate American Patriot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    A Banana Republic, Central America
    Posts
    48,597
    Thanks
    78
    Thanked 27 Times in 27 Posts

    Default Re: Iran the Next Battlefield - Thread Renamed

    U.S. War With Iran is Becoming Increasingly Likely



    Mic this! 2
    Tweet



    Before the United States headed into Iraq in its most recent campaign, there were many hints that war was becoming the most popular choice and diplomacy was riding shotgun. Some very interesting events have taken place lately regarding Iran, and the possibility of a military strike against its nuclear facilities are eerily similar to the events that led up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
    In an exclusive CNN interview last week, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Martin Dempsey said, "My biggest worry is they will miscalculate our resolve," in reference to Iran building a nuclear weapon. Dempsey went on to say that he is satisfied that the options that we are developing are evolving to a point that they would be executable if necessary," in reference to a military intervention. These statements are similar to those made in 2001 by President Bush and others inside his administration about Iraq and other nations being held accountable for developing WMD. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta made a similar statement last week that a nuclear Iran would not be tolerated and that the U.S. would take "whatever steps necessary to stop it."
    Iran has also been found liable for helping Al-Qaeda carry out the 9/11 attacks by a federal judge in Manhattan. Saudi Arabia, which was also a defendant in the case, was dropped from the judgment. Iraq was also accused of being complicit with 9/11 plans and harboring Al-Qaeda operatives before the U.S. invasion in 2003. The most suspect part of this case is that Saudi Arabia, where 15 of the 19 hijackers originated, was simply let off the hook. However if the U.S. is preparing for war, it makes perfect sense since Saudi Arabia is an adversary of Iran, terrified of the nuclear threat (and has threatened to start its own nuclear program), and a vital U.S. ally.
    As of late, Israel has shown an increasing uneasiness about the Iranian threat, and the U.S. has been listening. Earlier this month, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta made a rather astute statement that war with Iran would embroil the region in conflict. This prompted a harsh Israeli response, which led to the U.S. reassuring Israel that there are certain red triggers that will push the U.S. to act forcefully.
    Additionally, high-level Israeli diplomats, military, and intelligence officials traveled to the U.S. earlier this month for the yearly strategic dialogue meeting, in which Israel presented evidence that Iran was progressing further in its nuclear program than U.S. officials thought. Before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, Israel gave plenty of evidence that Iraq was an imminent threat and Ariel Sharon said that Iraq was, "the greatest danger facing Israel." Israel only did this after the Bush administration assured them that Iraq was the first to go on a list that included Iran (who Israel truly believed to be their biggest threat if they were being honest).
    If the U.S. is planning to go to war, it isnt holding its cards very close to its chest. Iran senses that something very tangible is behind the rhetoric, and has begun its preparations for armed conflict. Iran is holding war games in the Strait of Hormuz through which much of the worlds oil travels to market. While closing the strait indefinitely is impossible, it may cause oil prices to skyrocket for an extended period while leading to war. Spokeswoman of the U.S. Navys Fifth fleet, Lt. Rebecca Rebarich said that the U.S. is ready to counter malevolent actions that would interfere with navigation in response to an Iranian blockade of the strait.
    Further, the regime suspects that the judgment made against it pertaining to 9/11 is rhetoric to help justify war. It also seems likely that Iran will seek the death penalty against CIA agents recently caught spying for the U.S., a stern warning that espionage will not be tolerated and Iran will act with forceful resolve against its enemies.
    Things are only getting worse between the U.S. and its Persian adversary. The pattern of aggressive rhetoric that was used by the U.S. and Israel before the war in Iraq in 2003 is being used again. It may be early in the process, but as diplomatic means of solving problems are either failing or not being used to their full potential, the default tactic of armed conflict is making its way to the front of the line.
    Libertatem Prius!


    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.




  14. #1014
    Senior Member Toad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Minot, ND
    Posts
    1,403
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default Re: Iran the Next Battlefield - Thread Renamed

    I can see Iran being able to shut the straight down. Temporarily. Very very temporarily. Keeping it shut is the trick. I just don't see it happening. 1 day. Maybe 2 days. Tops. Then bitch-smackery hits the Iranian fan. US/UN strikes, very little protests since the shipping shutdown hits the entire world.

    It'll be a fool's move to try.

  15. #1015
    Expatriate American Patriot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    A Banana Republic, Central America
    Posts
    48,597
    Thanks
    78
    Thanked 27 Times in 27 Posts

    Default Re: Iran the Next Battlefield - Thread Renamed

    Iran - WORLD
    Iran: U.S. in 'No Position' to Give Orders on Strait of Hormuz

    Published December 29, 2011

    | NewsCore



    AP

    December 28, 2011: Iranian submarines and warships participate in navy drill in the Sea of Oman.

    TEHRAN – A senior Iranian commander said Thursday that Washington was "in no position" to give orders to Iran when it comes to the Strait of Hormuz, as tensions continued to rise between the countries over the key oil transit channel.

    Brigadier General Hossein Salami, the deputy commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, said that "the Islamic Republic of Iran asks for no other country's permission for the implementation of its defense strategies," Iran's state-run Press TV reported.

    Over the past week, Iran has repeatedly warned it could impose sanctions on oil exports and threatened to block the strait, which is used to transport about 15 million barrels of oil per day, The Wall Street Journal reported.

    George Little, the Pentagon press secretary, said Wednesday that "any attempt to close the strait will not be tolerated," which angered Iranian officials.

    His comments were echoed by the US Navy's Fifth Fleet, which said any country that "threatens to disrupt freedom of navigation in an international strait is clearly outside the community of nations."

    Responding to the US stance, Salami said Thursday, "Our response to threats is threats."

    Earlier Thursday, Iranian official Commodore Mahmoud Mousavi said that a US aircraft carrier entered a zone near the strait, which is being used by the Iranian Navy for war games.

    "A US aircraft carrier was spotted inside the maneuver zone ... by a navy reconnaissance aircraft," Mousavi was quoted as saying by the state-run IRNA news agency.

    The vessel was believed to be the USS John C. Stennis, one of the US Navy's biggest warships.

    The US, the EU and key Arab states recently intensified discussions about the possibility of imposing an embargo on oil purchases from Iran.

    US President Barack Obama was expected in the coming weeks to sign new legislation preventing any business dealings with Iran's Central Bank, through which Tehran executes most of its oil sales. The US Congress passed the restrictions Dec. 15 as part of a bill authorizing more than $660 billion in defense spending over the next year, the WSJ reported.

    Though analysts said it was highly unlikely Iran would close the strait, as it would severely impact the country's own economy -- Iran is the fourth-largest producer of crude oil in the world -- its threats to do so increased over the past week.

    Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said Wednesday that it would be "very easy" for Iran's naval forces to shut down the Strait of Hormuz, while Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi said Tuesday that "not even a drop of oil will flow through the Persian Gulf" if Iran's oil is embargoed.

    "If our enemies in the West start conspiring against us, we'll take strong action to put them in their place," he added.
    Libertatem Prius!


    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.




  16. #1016
    Creepy Ass Cracka & Site Owner Ryan Ruck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH
    Posts
    24,435
    Thanks
    44
    Thanked 61 Times in 60 Posts

    Default Re: Iran the Next Battlefield - Thread Renamed

    Pentagon Seeks Mightier Bomb vs. Iran
    January 28, 2012

    Pentagon war planners have concluded that their largest conventional bomb isn't yet capable of destroying Iran's most heavily fortified underground facilities, and are stepping up efforts to make it more powerful, according to U.S. officials briefed on the plan.

    The 30,000-pound "bunker-buster" bomb, known as the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, was specifically designed to take out the hardened fortifications built by Iran and North Korea to cloak their nuclear programs.

    But initial tests indicated that the bomb, as currently configured, wouldn't be capable of destroying some of Iran's facilities, either because of their depth or because Tehran has added new fortifications to protect them.

    Doubts about the MOP's effectiveness prompted the Pentagon this month to secretly submit a request to Congress for funding to enhance the bomb's ability to penetrate deeper into rock, concrete and steel before exploding, the officials said.

    The push to boost the power of the MOP is part of stepped-up contingency planning for a possible strike against Iran's nuclear program, say U.S. officials.

    The Defense Department has spent about $330 million so far to develop about 20 of the bombs, which are built by Boeing Co. The Pentagon is seeking about $82 million more to make the bomb more effective, according to government officials briefed on the plan.

    Some experts question if any kind of conventional explosives are capable of reaching facilities such as those built deep underground in Iran. But U.S. defense officials say they believe the MOP could already do damage sufficient to set back the program.

    Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal Thursday, acknowledged the bomb's shortcomings against some of Iran's deepest bunkers. He said more development work would be done and that he expected the bomb to be ready to take on the deepest bunkers soon.

    "We're still trying to develop them," Mr. Panetta said.

    President Barack Obama has made clear that he believes U.S. and international sanctions can curb Iran's nuclear program if they are given more time to work. At the same time, however, Mr. Obama has asked the Pentagon to come up with military options.

    In Tuesday's State of the Union address, Mr. Obama said: "Let there be no doubt: America is determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and I will take no options off the table to achieve that goal." Iran denies it is trying to develop atomic weapons.

    The U.S. has sought in recent weeks to tamp down tensions with Iran, but the Pentagon is at the same time pushing ahead with contingency planning.

    "The development of this weapon is not intended to send a signal to any one particular country," Pentagon press secretary George Little said. "It's a capability we believe we need in our arsenal and will continue to invest in it."

    Officials said the planned improvements to the MOP were meant to overcome shortcomings that emerged in initial testing. They said the new money was meant to ensure the weapon would be more effective against the deepest bunkers, including Iran's Fordow enrichment plant facility, which is buried in a mountain complex surrounded by antiaircraft batteries, making it a particularly difficult target even for the most powerful weapons available to the U.S.

    Developing an effective bunker-buster is complicated in part because of the variables, experts say. Penetration varies depending on factors such as soil density and the types of stone and rock shielding the target.

    Boeing received a contract in 2009 to fit the weapon on the U.S.'s B-2 Stealth Bomber. The Air Force began receiving the first of the bombs in September, a time of growing tensions with Iran. The Air Force has so far contracted to buy 20 of the bombs, and more deliveries are expected in 2013, after additional tests are made.

    Should a decision be made to use the MOP as currently configured, it could cause "a lot of damage" to Iran's underground nuclear facilities but wouldn't necessarily destroy them outright, Mr. Panetta said.

    "We're developing it. I think we're pretty close, let's put it that way. But we're still working at it because these things are not easy to be able to make sure that they will do what we want them to."

    Mr. Panetta added: "But I'm confident, frankly, that we're going to have that capability and have it soon,"

    The decision to ask now for more money to develop the weapon was directly related to efforts by the U.S. military's Central Command to prepare military options against Iran as quickly as possible, according to a person briefed on the request for additional funds.

    A senior defense official said the U.S. had other options besides the MOP to set back Iran's nuclear program. "The Massive Ordnance Penetrators are by no means the only capability at our disposal to deal with potential nuclear threats in Iran," the official said.

    Another senior U.S. official said the Pentagon could make up for the MOPs' shortcomings by dropping them along with other guided bombs on top of a bunker's entry and exit points—provided the intelligence is available about where they are all located.

    Successful strikes on bunker entry and exit points could prevent an enemy from accessing such a site and could cause enough damage to stop or slow enrichment activity there.

    "There is a virtue to deepness but you still need to get in and out," the senior U.S. official said.

    The Pentagon was particularly concerned about its ability to destroy bunkers built under mountains, such as Iran's Fordow site near the Shiite Muslim holy city of Qom, according to a former senior U.S. official who is an expert on Iran.

    The official said some Pentagon war planners believe conventional bombs won't be effective against Fordow and that a tactical nuclear weapon may be the only military option if the goal is to destroy the facility. "Once things go into the mountain, then really you have to have something that takes the mountain off," the official said.

    The official said the MOP may be more effective against Iran's main enrichment plant at Natanz but added: "But even that is guesswork."

    The Pentagon notified Congress in mid-January that it wants to divert around $82 million to refine the MOP, taking the money from other defense programs. The decision to sidestep the normal budget request process suggests the Pentagon deems the MOP upgrades to be a matter of some urgency.

    Mr. Panetta said Iran wasn't the only potential target. "It's not just aimed at Iran. Frankly, it's aimed at any enemy that decides to locate in some kind of impenetrable location. The goal here is to be able to get at any enemy, anywhere," he said

    Mr. Panetta and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates have argued that a military strike would at best delay Iran's nuclear development for a few years. Advocates of a strike say such a delay could be decisive by buying time for other efforts to thwart the program.

    According to Air Force officials, the 20.5 foot-long MOP carries over 5,300 pounds of explosive material. It is designed to penetrate up to 200 feet underground before exploding. The mountain above the Iranian enrichment site at Fordow is estimated to be at least 200 feet tall.

    Israel has large bunker-buster bombs but the U.S. hasn't provided the MOP to any other country.
    My solution... Parachute retard for once the bomb is over target, release parachute, fire rocket boosters strapped to MOP, detonate nuclear warhead! Win!

  17. #1017
    Expatriate American Patriot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    A Banana Republic, Central America
    Posts
    48,597
    Thanks
    78
    Thanked 27 Times in 27 Posts

    Default Re: Iran the Next Battlefield - Thread Renamed

    Nukes for the win.
    Libertatem Prius!


    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.




  18. #1018
    Expatriate American Patriot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    A Banana Republic, Central America
    Posts
    48,597
    Thanks
    78
    Thanked 27 Times in 27 Posts

    Default Re: Iran the Next Battlefield - Thread Renamed

    Iran claims production of laser-guided artillery shells



    By Associated Press, Updated: Monday, January 30, 2:58 AM


    TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s state TV is reporting the country has produced laser-guided artillery shells, capable of hitting moving targets with high accuracy.

    The Monday report quoting Defense Minister Gen. Ahmad Vahidi also says that the shell was an “intelligent” munition with the capability to identify its own targets.





    The report was accompanied by footage showing an artillery piece firing a shell, followed by an explosion in the desert.

    The report does not give details on specifications of the shell. It could not be independently verified.

    Iran occasionally announces the production and testing of military equipment, ranging from torpedoes to missiles and jet fighters.

    The country’s military has run a program dating from 1992 which aims at self-sufficiency in producing modern weaponry.
    Libertatem Prius!


    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.




  19. #1019
    Expatriate American Patriot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    A Banana Republic, Central America
    Posts
    48,597
    Thanks
    78
    Thanked 27 Times in 27 Posts

    Default Re: Iran the Next Battlefield - Thread Renamed

    I heard someone on the radio saying "Iran could have a nuclear bomb within a MONTH, and within a year be able to deliver it on a missile".

    They've had a lot of help from Russia and North Korea... I don't doubt they can do a nuke soon. Even if just a simple device. Shrinking it down to deliver on a missile will be harder, but not impossible given their benefactors.

    Panetta Says Iran Could Develop Nuclear Weapon Within A Year






    U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta (file photo)


    • Last updated (GMT/UTC): 30.01.2012 09:19




    U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says analysts believe that Iran could develop a nuclear weapon within about one year if Tehran decided to do so.

    Speaking on the CBS “60 Minutes” program broadcast on January 29, Panetta said it would probably take Iran another two to three years to produce a missile or other vehicle that could deliver the weapon to a target.

    Panetta's comments came while a team of inspectors from the United Nations' nuclear watchdog agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), is at work in Iran.

    Panetta reiterated that the United States does not want Iran to develop a nuclear weapon. He called this a “red line” for both the U.S. and its ally Israel.

    "If they proceed and we get intelligence that they are proceeding with developing a nuclear weapon, then we will take whatever steps are necessary to stop them," he said.

    Iran's leadership denies any effort to make a nuclear weapon.

    Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said he was "optimistic" about the mission, which is due to be in Iran until January 31.

    "Of course I do not mean that a miracle will happen overnight," Salehi added, "but you know a long journey starts with the first step."

    He added that inspectors would be allowed to visit any site in Iran that they wished.

    On January 29, Iranian parliament speaker Ali Larijani said the IAEA's visit is a "test" for the agency, adding that Iran would cooperate if the IAEA acted "professionally" and not as "a tool of the West."

    An IAEA report in November said some aspects of the Iranian nuclear program could only have military applications.

    In his State of the Union address last week, President Barack Obama warned Tehran over its nuclear plans. "Let there be no doubt: America is determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and I will take no options off the table to achieve that goal," Obama said.

    A draft analysis by the Institute for Science and International Security quoted by "The Guardian" predicted that Israel would attack Iran in 2012 to derail an alleged nuclear weapons program. The report suggested Iran was "unlikely to dash toward making nuclear weapons as long as its uranium-enrichment capability remains as limited as it is today."

    compiled from agency reports
    Libertatem Prius!


    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.




  20. #1020
    Expatriate American Patriot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    A Banana Republic, Central America
    Posts
    48,597
    Thanks
    78
    Thanked 27 Times in 27 Posts

    Default Re: Iran the Next Battlefield - Thread Renamed

    BC-Iran-Nuclear, 2nd Ld,0130
    January 30, 2012 13:17 GMT

    Iran: Nuclear inspectors can extend their visit TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iran's official news agency reports that the country's foreign minister has said that inspectors from the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog can extend an ongoing visit to the Islamic Republic.
    The Monday report by IRNA says Ali Akbar Salehi told Turkish TRT TV in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, that the three-day visit by International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors that started Sunday can be extended "if they desire."
    The remarks appear to be part of a show of flexibility and transparency by Tehran during the IAEA inspection tour, which could greatly influence the direction and urgency of U.S.-led efforts to rein in Iran's ability to enrich uranium.
    The West suspects Iran is pursuing weapons technology. Iran says its program is for peaceful purposes.
    Libertatem Prius!


    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.




Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •