BEIRUT, Lebanon – The Iranian parliament, or Majlis, is considering legislation to require the government to block the Strait of Hormuz to tankers shipping oil and liquefied natural gas to countries which support sanctions against Iran, says a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
According to an Iranian foreign-ministry official, the government not only welcomes the legislation but is waiting for its passage so that it can be immediately implemented.
However, Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi said the Strait would not be closed unless “the country’s interests are put in danger.”
Meantime, the U.S. Defense Department announced that another U.S. warship, the U.S.S. Ponce, has been added to the Fifth Fleet base in Bahrain. It is a mine countermeasures ship. It will operate in the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean.
In addition, the U.S. is increasing troop strength at U.S. bases across the region in what is referred to as a “lily pad” model that will enable rapid deployment of military forces where there is a flash crisis.
Iranian legislation to authorize closing the Strait came after European Union countries joined the United States in imposing the latest round of even more rigorous sanctions which went into effect July 1 to ban the import of Iranian oil. This sanction is on top of others which include banning any Iranian central bank business.
Iranian lawmakers had warned that Iran would shut down the strategic Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf if sanctions against the Islamic republic increase. The proposed legislation would order the Strait shut down to tankers from countries that support the increased sanctions.
These sanctions are in addition to United Nations sanctions which were imposed initially on Iran last year in response to the Islamic republic’s refusal to end its nuclear enrichment program. Various negotiations have been under way for some time to work out a compromise, and the option has been there for military action by Israel, the United States, or both.
While the Iranians are finding ways around the sanctions, they apparently are affecting the country economically.
However, sources tell WND/G2Bulletin that Iran has developed a sophisticated “shadow economy” of black marketing and Iran is using the currencies of countries with which it is trading in an effort to bypass sanctions and not use U.S. dollars or European euros.
Iranian Foreign Ministry official Ramin Mehman-Parast said that the sanctions are “provocative and threatening” to the security of crude supplies. “They should account for their actions and accept the consequences of such decisions which will include social and economic crises in the Western countries.”
Among legal authorities, there is some question as to the legality of Iran shutting down the Strait, a portion of which transits Iranian territorial waters. The Iranians, however, believe they have such authority under international law.
“We enjoy sufficient ability and power to establish security in the region and security of supply and energy transit in the region,” Mehman-Parast said.
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