» 08/11/2008, 00.00
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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