War tocsin sounding in Iran
Given all the other signs we've been noting the last few weeks, including Leon Panetta's flat statement that the US will do everything to prevent Iranian nukes, his failure in the same interview not to warn Israel against an attack on Iran, the drone incident, and other indications, this statement from a high Iranian official about closing the Straits of Hormuz in retaliation for economic sanctions all but seals the deal; if Iran were to do that, there will be blood.
A senior Iranian official on Tuesday delivered a sharp threat in response to economic sanctions being readied by the United States, saying his country would retaliate against any crackdown by blocking all oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz, a vital artery for transporting about one-fifth of the world's oil supply.
The declaration by Iran's first vice president, Mohammad-Reza Rahimi, came as President Obama prepares to sign legislation that, if fully implemented, could substantially reduce Iran's oil revenue in a bid to deter it from pursuing a nuclear weapons program.
Prior to the latest move, the administration had been laying the groundwork to attempt to cut off Iran from global energy markets without raising the price of gasoline or alienating some of Washington's closest allies.
Apparently fearful of the expanded sanctions' possible impact on the already-stressed economy of Iran, the world's third-largest energy exporter, Mr. Rahimi said, "If they impose sanctions on Iran's oil exports, then even one drop of oil cannot flow from the Strait of Hormuz," according to Iran's official news agency. Iran just began a 10-day naval exercise in the area.
If Iran carries through with that threat - a big "if" - there will be a military confrontation. About 1/3 of the world's oil moves through the Straits of Hormuz every day and quite simply, Europe and the US cannot allow the Iranians to take control of that vital chokepoint.
It smells like war is on the horizon whether Iran makes good on its threat or not. The optimal time to attack Iran from Israel is the spring months. I don't think it will be that long before a showdown occurs.