President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, seen here on 15 December 2006, vowed that nothing would stop Iran pushing ahead with its nuclear programme, as world powers prepared for a likely vote that could slap UN sanctions against Tehran.
Ahmadinejad warns of immediate retaliation and US and Britain step up naval presence in Gulf
The United Nations security council is finally expected to pass a resolution today to impose international sanctions on Iran for the first time since the 1979 revolution, a punitive move that will heighten diplomatic tensions and risks a military confrontation in the Gulf.
Iran has threatened immediate retaliation, even though the proposed sanctions have been significantly watered down this week. Tehran’s options include withdrawal from the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN nuclear watchdog, which would mean Iran would conduct its nuclear programme free from international monitoring, and possible closure of the Strait of Hormuz, the channel for 20% of the world’s oil supplies.
So, what are Ahmadinejad and the Iranian Mullahs to do?
Likely, they will with draw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). But, the IAEA inspections have been a sham and worthless in any case. Therefore, what is the big deal?
Will Iran provoke a military conflict?
Possible, but the United States is ready.
Western diplomats think that the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and his colleagues are bluffing but, just in case, the US announced this week it is reinforcing its fleet in the Gulf.
The British government is also increasing its naval presence. Two minehunters arrived in Bahrain on Tuesday but the Ministry of Defence said their deployment was mainly for training with Gulf states and “not to counter any increased threat”. Tony Blair, on a visit to the Middle East this week, portrayed Iran as a major threat.
It is doubtful that Iran will provoke a fight with the West. If Iran were try to block the Strait of Hormuz the Professor Herman scenario would likely be initiated.
And what is next?
More bloviations from Iran – of course.
Ayatollah Ahmad Janati attends Friday prayer in Tehran in July 2006. Iran has played down a pending UN Security Council resolution that could lead to sanctions over its nuclear programme, insisting that the Islamic republic will resist to the end
Iran has played down a pending UN Security Council resolution that could lead to sanctions over its nuclear programme, insisting that the Islamic republic will resist to the end.
“We should tell foreign enemies that this is the Iranian nation, whether you adopt a resolution or whatever hostile act… our people will withstand it,” senior cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Janati said in a Friday prayer sermon in Tehran carried live on state radio.
“Our people will resist and stand tall to the end,” Janati said as major powers worked in New York on reaching a Security Council consensus over a European draft resolution mandating UN nuclear-related sanctions against Iran.
Stay tuned for this afternoon’s vote in the United Nations…….or Saturday.
The Natanz uranium enrichment complex in Natanz is pictured in this January 2, 2006 satellite image.
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