Jerusalem, Dec. 28 – Iran is threatening to obstruct shipping if stronger sanctions are put into place to block the Islamic Republic’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. The warning was issued as Iran conducts a 10-day military exercise in the strategically-critical waters of the Gulf.
Iran's Vice-President Mohammad Reza Rahimi warned that his country would block the vital Strait of Hormuz if proposed sanctions on Iranian crude oil exports are imposed. About a third of the world’s shipped crude oil passes through the strategic shipping channel and any shutdown could have devastating repercussions for the global economy.
Iran is the only United Nations member that has committed to destroying another U.N. member. Iranian leaders have called for Israel to be “wiped off the map.” Despite years of claiming its nuclear program was peaceful, the International Atomic Energy Agency concluded in a damning report in November that Iran was likely developing nuclear weapons.
Iranian parliament member Parviz Sorouri said Iran knows the Middle East supplies 70 percent of the world’s energy needs, most of which are transported through the Strait of Hormuz. “We will hold an exercise to close the Strait of Hormuz in the near future,” Sorouri said.
“An Iran with nuclear weapons would confront the world with many dangers, including the very real danger that it will trigger a nuclear war in the Middle East,” said Dennis Ross, the former Middle East peace negotiator and advisor to United States President Barak Obama.
“We need to be vigilant about the indicators that Iran is moving more quickly either on HEU (weapons-grade Highly Enriched Uranium) or weaponizing. And we must use the time we have to apply greater pressure on the Iranians,” Ross said.
The respected American-based Washington Institute for Near East Policy previously concluded that “the Islamic Republic holds the Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz—the world’s oil lifeline—in its grip.”