Iran declared a tanker war on America
Tehran is ready to respond to us decide to cancel the temporary permission to import oil from Iran from May 1 for five countries — China, India, Japan, South Korea, and Turkey. As stated by the commander of the marine unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Ali Reza Tangsiri, the Iranian authorities will block the Strait of Hormuz, if Tehran cannot use it because of the restrictive measures of the United States. This was reported on April 22 by the Iranian Agency «Farce».
Note, Iran is not the first time warning about the possibility of a blockade of the Persian Gulf. In July 2018, Deputy commander of the IRGC Ismail kousari Spoke about this. In December, the threat was repeated by President Hassan Rouhani.
«If one day the Americans want to prevent the export of Iranian oil, the oil will not be exported through the Persian Gulf,» Rouhani promised.
The then statement of the Iranian leader was made against the background of another aggravation of relations between Washington and Tehran. On December 2, us Secretary of state Mike Pompeo accused Iran of testing medium-range ballistic missiles, which allegedly can carry nuclear warheads and threaten the countries of Europe and the Middle East.
The degree of opposition quickly grew. Us Navy strike aircraft carrier group led by the aircraft carrier John C. Stennis arrived in the Persian Gulf to «demonstrate force» to Iran. And on November 21, the commander of the Iranian revolutionary guard Corps, General Amir-Ali hadjizadeh, said that us aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf, as well as us bases — al-Udeid in Qatar, Al-Dafra in the UAE and Kandahar in Afghanistan — are under the gun of Iranian missiles. The American edition of The National Interest then confirmed that in the event of an armed conflict with Iran, the US risks facing a powerful blow to its ships and bases in the Persian Gulf. Ballistic missiles, maneuverable small ships, submarines, and boats of the Iranian fleet, coupled with mine barriers will pose a serious threat to the US Navy, claimed military experts.
In addition, the publication noted that several types of weapons available to Iran are «deadly» for us military. This ballistic missile «Sejil» with a range of 2,500 km, submarines «Gadir», anticorrelate missiles «khalij-e Fars» and the Russian s-300.
The National Interest also indicated that Tehran is strengthening the naval component of the armed forces. On December 1, Iran launched the destroyer «Sahand» of its own production, using stealth technology. On 29 November, two mini-submarines of the Qadir class capable of carrying torpedoes and surface-to-surface missiles joined the Iranian fleet.
All this means that the current increase in tension in the Persian Gulf is fraught with an escalation of the conflict. Moreover, Iran has a good chance to fight back the United States and really block the Strait of Hormuz, through which there is a fifth of the world’s oil supplies. Yet its width at its narrowest point is only 54 km, and the Northern shore entirely belongs to Iran.
However, until now, Iran has been limited to threats and the Strait has never been blocked — even during the Iran-Iraq war. Tehran understands that in this case the energy security of the European Union, India, China, and Japan will be under attack. This affects global interests and is fraught with the most serious consequences for Tehran.
How will the us-Iran conflict develop this time, will it reach the blocking of the Strait of Hormuz?
— Donald Trump has repeatedly stated that the Joint comprehensive action plan (JCPOA) on Iran’s nuclear program is a «bad deal», — said the expert of the Russian Institute for strategic studies (RISI) Sergey Ermakov. — Now, Trump actually buries the JCPOA. I note that these actions fit into the General direction of the current us administration — the revision of all major treaties and obligations in which America participates. All these agreements are being translated into new formats in order to meet American national interests. As a result, the achievement of such updated agreements will be declared a victory for trump.
In fact, both the aggravation of our relations with North Korea and Russia’s accusations of violating the INF TREATY is part of the strategy of renegotiating agreements on favorable terms for Americans.
Now the same scheme is used against Iran. Moreover, the Americans consider Iran to be one of the opponents and believe that the dialogue with Tehran from a position of strength is most effective.
«SP»: — will the US be able to completely block the supply of Iranian oil?
— Almost certainly, a number of countries will continue to buy oil from Iran. First of all, it is China — it is most interested in Iranian supplies. Probably Iranian oil will purchase and Japan — will circumvent American prohibitions.
It is difficult to say what it will lead to. I do not exclude that after a time the US will still extend temporary permits for oil imports from Iran.
«SP»: — Will it come to block the Strait of Hormuz by Tehran, as promised by the IRGC?
— The IRGC is not just a paramilitary structure. It is also a structure that is in power and has a very serious political influence in Iran. After her statement on the Strait, the US pressure on Iran, I believe, will only increase.
The theme of blocking the Strait sounds constantly, and actively exploited by experts — both Russian and foreign. Indeed, Iran has the opportunity to do so, and we analysts are actively discussing options in case the Strait should be released by force.
However, the real prospect of the American-Iranian conflict in the Strait of Hormuz is not yet visible. The case is limited to advocacy. The main thing is that we do not see the US preparing for a military operation in the Persian Gulf — first of all, the build-up of the American group.
SP: Iran has never closed the Strait before. Does this mean that a real military clash with the US is an extremely disadvantageous scenario for Tehran?
That’s right. Tehran’s policy is to work — in itself — the threat of transition to confrontational actions, and would serve as an element of pressure on all other players.
Indeed, there are fears that if Tehran is cornered — for example, forced to completely curtail oil exports — it will move to decisive action. Nothing else he simply will not.
This scenario is feared, first of all, by European countries. They directly speak about the danger of the conflict situation.
But Donald Trump is not very stopped. As we can see, us President and his team have been playing big recently, and raising the stakes all the time. This is evident from the tough statements of Mike Pompeo, and the attacks of us assistant to the President for national security John Bolton. The latter, let me remind you, on April 22, called on the Iranian authorities to change their «destabilizing behavior», which only «harms the population of the country.»
I think by raising rates and increasing pressure, the White House still hopes that Iran, in the end, will go to the conditions of the United States, and afraid to move to a direct confrontation. Washington may well afford a game of promotion: the Americans are well aware that as a result of the transition to confrontation, the interests of the United States will not suffer — the European allies of America will be under attack.