Iran threatens to close strait if new sanctions begin

Reza Kahlili Contributor
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With the failure of negotiations between Iran and six world powers last week, the Islamic regime now says it has the right, under international law, to close the Strait of Hormuz to oil tanker traffic should an embargo on Iran’s oil go into effect July 1.

The third round of talks between Iran and the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany ended in Moscow without any agreement on Iran’s illicit nuclear program. Iran continues to insist that the only way out of the impasse would be for the West to accept its nuclear program.

Hossein Shariatmadari, the chief editor of the Iranian Keyhan newspaper, which is directly under the supervision of the supreme leader, warned in a commentary on Saturday that not only will Iran not back down on what it sees as its right to become a nuclear power but that it has the ability to stop oil tanker passage through the strait should new sanctions take effect.

“The enemy needs the negotiations just for the sake of negotiation as it knows that all its military threats are a bluff,” Shariatmadari wrote. “One thing is clear today: America and its allies, especially the fake government of Israel, are surely weaker and more despised than ever to even consider such stupid action.”

Many within the Islamic regime believe that due to the deteriorating economic climates in Europe and America, and especially with President Obama facing re-election, the West will do everything it can to avoid military confrontation with Iran.

“But the other option that America has used in facing defeat in the negotiations is sanctions,” Shariatmadari said. “Iran has so far faced 161 sanctions, but despite that, its economy is in better shape than those in America and Europe.”

Shariatmadari cited a statement by the U.S. Treasury secretary that in today’s free market, controlling almost $200 billion in trade with Iran and securing the participation of all American and European companies in sanctions would be a difficult task.

“It is noteworthy that should the oil embargo on Iran by the European Union take effect on July 1st, then the Islamic Iran has the right to retaliation as the waters of the Strait of Hormuz are located within Iranian territory,” Shariatmadari said. “According to the Geneva 1958 Convention and the Jamaica 1982 Convention, which touches on the legality of the international waterways, Iran can close down the Strait of Hormuz to all oil tankers and even other commercial vessels if it is barred from selling oil.”

The conventions allow passage of all vessels so long as the security of any country is not threatened. With these new sanctions, Iran would consider its security threatened.

Meanwhile, the Iranian supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, emboldened by praise of the Iranian media for not giving in to the world demands, called America and Israel the “murderous enemies” and promised their defeat.

“The greatness of Iran’s Islamic nation is due to its action based on the holy Quran,” Khamenei said Sunday in a speech to the participants of the 29th International Quran Competition, according to Fars News Agency, the media outlet run by the Revolutionary Guard. “The Islamic nations must realize that if they have faith and believe the promises of Allah and have patience on the path of Quran and Islam, they will be victorious over the most complicated armies and over all economic, political conspiracies.”

Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for a former CIA operative in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and the author of the award winning book “A Time to Betray.” He is a senior Fellow with EMPact America, a member of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and teaches at the U.S. Department of Defense’s Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy (JCITA).

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Reza Kahlili