Long-seething tensions in the Middle East are coming to a boil once again as tit-for-tat verbal salvos between the U.S. and Iran have moved beyond tweets and declarations alone and are now shifting toward the realm of concrete actions and demonstrations of military force.
On Thursday, U.S. officials reported that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) began large-scale naval exercises in the Persian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, and Strait of Hormuz. Hundreds of IRGC personnel and dozens of small fast craft are taking part in the war games, which come months ahead of schedule.
Analysts are interpreting the measure as a warning from Tehran to Washington that if Iran is prevented from selling its oil to world markets through sanctions or other means, the country reserves the right to retaliate by blocking the Strait of Hormuz to U.S. oil tankers. Twenty percent of the world’s oil is transmitted through the artery, which is seen as the world’s most important transit point.
Seyed Hossein Nahavi-Hosseini, the spokesman of Iran’s parliamentary commission on national security and foreign policy, confirmed the defense strategy to Russian outlet Sputnik, noting that the country would secure its interests in case the U.S. remains committed to choking off Iran’s economy.
Retired US army colonel implies that a war with Iran could start with a Vietnam-type false flag operation