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    » 08/11/2008, 00.00

    PERSIAN GULF

    War ships, planes, missiles amassing around Gulf



    In preparation for the UN decision on new sanctions against Iran over of its nuclear program, while Tehran considers blockading the Strait of Hormuz, Western fleets are approaching. Saudi Arabia is buying jets, and Kuwait is activating its "emergency war plan".

    Kuwait City (AsianNews) - Iran says that it is "ready to confront sanctions" from the UN in connection with its nuclear program, which will continue forward "under any circumstances"; Saudi Arabia is preparing to buy 72 more Eurofighter Typhoon jets; United States, British, and French warships are increasing the military presence in the Persian Gulf; Kuwait is activating its "emergency war plan".

    There's a show of muscle in the Gulf, in preparation for the report from the deputy director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Olli Heinonen, who visited Tehran on August 7 to clarify the offer of the "5 plus 1" (the permanent members of the UN Security Council - United States, Russia, China, Great Britain, and France - plus Germany) in exchange for the suspension of Iran's nuclear fuel enrichment program. The Iranian response - expected to be a rejection or a delay - will bring a request for a new sanctions, which could be discussed at the next general assembly of the United Nations, scheduled for September 23- October 1.

    In recent days, Arab observers have emphasized the concurrence of the threat of new sanctions, and Iran's announcement that it has prepared ground-to-air missiles with a range of 300 kilometers, which is more than sufficient to close the "oil gate": the Strait of Hormuz, about 50 kilometers wide, between Iran and Oman. The Middle East Times highlights that Western aircraft carriers and battleships are approaching the Gulf, on their return from exercises in the Atlantic aimed at breaking a possible blockade of the Strait. It is the largest naval deployment in these waters since the two Gulf wars.

    Beyond the unfortunate hypothesis of a military confrontation, the presence of Western naval forces could suggest a blockade of Iranian oil exports and imports. Although it is the second largest oil producer in OPEC, Iran is forced to import gasoline, because its refineries are insufficient for its domestic needs. Fuel is already being rationed, and a blockade of its imports would have a devastating impact on the Iranian economy.

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    See also

    04/09/2008 GULF – IRAN
    Gulf Council backs UAE against Iran
    Six Arab countries call on Tehran to remove illegally built offices on Abu Musa Island and open talks over sovereignty. Iran’s reply is full of scorn.

    07/08/2008 IRAN – UNITED NATIONS
    IAEA deputy director general in Tehran, UN discusses new sanctions
    Views within the Security Council are not unanimous. West wants tough stance and new sanctions; Russia has a nuanced position; China is silent.

    11/01/2006 IRAN
    World begins to react to Tehran's decision to restart nuclear research
    EU3 foreign ministers are scheduled to meet tomorrow. China is hopeful that Iran-EU3 talks might prove useful. Russian foreign minister in Moscow says he is concerned, might not use veto in Secuirty Council.

    28/11/2008 IRAQ - UNITED STATES
    Archbishop Sako: vote on U.S. troop withdrawal conceals Iraq's "fragile equilibrium"
    The archbishop of Kirkuk curbs the enthusiasm, and points to the profound divisions still remaining in Iraq. He also reiterates the risk of civil war if the country is left to itself, and warns: the Iranian nuclear menace is a concrete threat for the entire Middle East.

    22/06/2010 UNITED STATES – IRAN
    US military pressure increasing in the Persian Gulf
    Some 12 US warships transited through the Suez Canal a few days ago. Three naval squadrons are currently in the region. Forces appear to be in position for a possible attack against Iran’s nuclear sites. Late July and early August could provide a window of opportunity for action. Iran threatens chaos in Saudi Arabia if it is attacked. Economic factors are determining the timing of the crisis.



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