Sat, 28th November 2015

Anirudh Sethi Report


Archives of “strait of hormuz” Tag

Iranian boats fire shots at Singapore-flagged vessel in Gulf

Five Iranian boats fired shots across the bow of a Singapore-flagged cargo vessel in the international waters of the Gulf on Thursday, CNN reported, citing a U.S. official.

It was unclear if the shots hit the vessel, CNN said. After the shots, the cargo vessel turned to the national waters of the United Arab Emirates, where that country protected it using its coast guard, CNN also said.

There were no U.S. personnel on the vessel, according to CNN. Reuters could not immediately confirm the report, and representatives for the Pentagon could not be immediately reached for comment.

The shots at the Singapore-flagged vessel were fired as U.S. President Barack Obama and leaders from Gulf nations were set to meet at Camp David in a rare, high-profile summit on U.S. efforts to broker a nuclear deal with Iran. The United States and five other world powers are in talks with Tehran to curb its atomic program.

Iran, currently in a standoff with a Saudi Arabia-led coalition over security inspections of its own cargo ship, last month intercepted a Marshall Islands-flagged vessel in the Strait of Hormuz. It forced that ship into Iranian territorial waters by firing shots across its bow.

Iran Sinks USS Nimitz Life-Size Model in Strait of Hormuz Naval Exercise

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards launched cruise missiles at a life-size copy of the US Nimitz aircraft carrier as they started naval exercises in the Strait of Hormuz, the country’s Tasnim New Agency announced.

The aircraft carrier model was sunk with four life-size Nasr cruise missiles, which have an operational range of 35 kilometers and a 150 kilogram  armor-piercing high-explosive warhead.

In addition, the Revolutionary Guards launched Khalij Fars (Persian Gulf) ballistic missiles from a coastal port. The missiles have a range of 300 kilometers and can reach mach 3 speeds (at least 1020 meters per second).

The drills, dubbed Great Prophet Nine, take place in the Strait of Hormuz, a 39 kilometer-wide waterway which is the sole entrance to the Persian Gulf.

 Iran’s state television said that the war games’ goal is to “demonstrate the power” of the Iranian Navy in protecting the country’s interests in the Persian Gulf.

Iran Threatens To Close Strait Of Hormuz In Response To Foreign ‘Aggression’

The United States has nothing left to pressure Tehran over its nuclear programme except for war, and if it chooses conflict Iran could close a key energy chokepoint, its envoy to Baghdad told AFP on Thursday.

 Ambassador Hassan Danaie-Far insisted in an interview that Tehran retained the right to close the Strait of Hormuz, through which a third of the world’s traded oil passes, in response to any aggression, military or otherwise.

“What else (US President Barack) Mr. Obama can do?” Danaie-Far said through an Iranian embassy translator.

“The only remaining card on the table is war. Is it to their benefit? Is it to the benefit of the world? Is it to the benefit of the region?”

The diplomat said that if it faced a “problem,” Tehran would be within its rights “to react and to defend itself.” Read More 

All eyes on Iran

On 16 January, world oil markets were monitoring talks between the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)and Iran for any signs as to whether Tehran, facing intensifying sanctions pressure, and the IAEA may be prepared to reach an agreement to resolve outstanding issues pertaining to Iran’s nuclear energy programme.

Iran denies Western accusations that it is seeking to develop a weapons capability, saying its nuclear programme is aimed only at power generation.

Six world powers – the United States, France, Germany, China, Russia and Britain – and Iran may resume their separate negotiations later in January to try to reach a broader diplomatic settlement.

However, on 13 January Iran flexed its military muscle, holding exercises near the port city of Bandar Abbas, which holds a strategic position on the Strait of Hormuz, which has heavy oil tanker traffic. The drills also allowed Iranian military forces to operate new weapons. Iranian sources note that the exercises are “normal” and Iranian armed forces must be well supplied by new conventional weapons and prepared for any threat despite budget problems. Read More 

Iran Launches Week-Long Straits Of Hormuz Naval Drill On Friday, Next To US Aircraft Carrier

With the market still hopeful of some deus ex resolution to the Fiscal Cliff will take place in the last few trading sessions of the year (one where the market itself will not have to be the catalyst for such a resolution, because once the selling starts in earnest, who knows if and when it stops, hence the loading up on prodigious amounts of puts), here is Iran out of left field, adding yet another known unknown to the inequality, announcing that it will begin six days of naval drills in the Straits of Hormuz on Friday. In other words a one year flashback deja vu, as Iran held a similar 10-day drill last December, when everyone was expecting an imminent escalation out of the endless Israel-Iran foreplay and was analyzing which were the new moon days allowing Israel unobstructed access to the greatest distraction of all – Iran’s nuclear facility being moved under a mountain: a catalyst which Israel repeatedly said is the only reason to attack a weaponizing, nuclear Iran, and which took place some time in 2012. Now that the official window of opportunity is closed, will Israel tone back on the aggressive rhetoric? Hardly: after all that is precisely why the Syrian “outlet valve” has been put in play over the past 6 months. Read More 

Iran: Hormuz Strait Closure Bill Backed By More Than Half Of MPs

Just over half of Iran’s parliament has backed a draft law to block the Strait of Hormuz, threatening to close the Gulf to oil tankers in retaliation against European sanctions.

Lawmaker Javad Karimi Qodoosi, who drafted the document, said 150 of parliament’s 290 members had signed the bill, describing the strait as “the world’s lock” to which Iran holds the key, the lawmaker said.

And even though the final decision lies with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, and the parliament does not really get to influence foreign policy, the move would lend significant political support to a possible decision to close the Strait.

A heavy Western naval presence in the Gulf and surrounding area is a big obstacle for any attempt to block the vital shipping route through which 40 percent of the world’s seaborne oil exports passes. Qodoosi dismissed this obstacle.

“From a military standpoint, the power to close the Strait of Hormuz is 100 percent there … if we close the Strait of Hormuz, no country will be able to open it”, the lawmaker said.

Iran says US can’t clear Gulf of mines

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards on Wednesday scoffed at US claims that it could Gulf waters of mines in case of conflict, after Washington announced plans for a multinational anti-mine operation.

 “The Americans boast a lot about many things, but they are facing problems in practice,” General Mahmoud Fahimi, deputy chief of the Guards’ naval forces, told the Fars news agency.

“We have no doubt that the United States cannot do anything in the area of minesweeping.”

The United States and about 20 other nations are to hold a major anti-mine operation near the Gulf on September 16-27, the Pentagon said on Tuesday, after Iran threatened it could block oil shipments through the waterway.

Pentagon spokesman George Little said the operation was “a defensive exercise aimed at preserving freedom of navigation in international waterways in the Middle East.”

Washington has warned Tehran not to block the strategic Strait of Hormuz, which the Islamic republic has threatened to do if international sanctions against its controversial nuclear programme begin to bite. Read More 

UAE starts pipeline to bypass Iran’s Strait

The United Arab Emirates yesterday inaugurated a pipeline to pump oil from east coast terminals, bypassing the strategic Strait of Hormuz which Iran has threatened to shut down, state-run WAM news agency reported.

The first shipment of 500,000 barrels of oil from the Habshan fields in Abu Dhabi were pumped through the pipeline to Fujairah oil terminal on the Gulf of Oman, where it was loaded on a tanker headed for Pakistan.

Energy Minister Mohammad bin Dhaen Al Hameli attended a ceremony in Fujairah for the launch.

Fears of a closure of the Strait of Hormuz have intensified amid repeated threats by Tehran to close the strategic outlet in retaliation for Western efforts to choke off its oil exports to rein in Iran’s nuclear programme.

Media reports in Tehran earlier this month said Iranian MPs endorsed a bill banning Europe-bound tankers from using the Strait of Hormuz to punish EU nations which have slapped sanctions on Iran.

On Thursday, US officials said the United States has deployed a fleet of robot subs in the Gulf to prevent Iran from blocking the strategic Strait of Hormuz with mines in case of a crisis.

The US military has been bolstering its presence in the region and sent four mine sweeper ships in early June, joining four other mine sweeping vessels already in the region, according to its Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet.

And in late April, a squadron of F-22 stealth fighters was sent to an air base in the United Arab Emirates.

Last week, senior Abu Dhabi oil official Ali Jarwan said the Habshan-Fujairah pipeline would be fully operational in August. Construction of the 360-kilometre (225 mile) pipeline began in 2008.

In late May, Fujairah ruler Shaikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi said the pipeline will have an initial capacity of 1.5 million barrels per day rising to a maximum 1.8m bpd.

The UAE’s current production is about 2.5m bpd.

Iran in full control of Hormuz Strait: IRGC navy commander

Commander of the navy of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) reiterated Saturday the strategic Strait of Hormuz is in full control of Iranian military forces.

“Iran fully controls the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz.. . If they (the United States and Israel) take any hostile action against Iran, they will have to pay greatly for it,” Ali Fadavi was quoted by the official IRNA news agency as saying.

Iran is able to fully close the Strait of Hormuz, he emphasized, saying that nothing will happen as long as the security and interests of Iran are not endangered, but if the United States seeks to “damage” the security of the region, all parties will suffer alike.

“We determine the rules of military conflict in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz,” he said, adding that Iran has greatly improved and upgraded its missile power.

Any conflict in the Persian Gulf will indicate the “stupidity” of Western troops, he said.

Tensions over Iran’s nuclear program have been mounting recently after three rounds of nuclear talks held earlier this year between Tehran and six world powers, namely the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany, failed to bear concrete results. Read More 

Iran issues new oil blockade warning

 Iran could prevent even “a single drop of oil” passing through the Strait of Hormuz if its security is threatened, a naval chief said on Saturday, as tensions simmer over Tehran’s nuclear programme.

Tehran will increase its military presence in international waters, said Ali Fadavi, naval commander in Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

“If they (the U.S.) do not obey international laws and the IRGC’s warnings, it will have very bad consequences for them,” Fadavi said, according to Iran’s Fars News Agency.

“The IRGC’s naval forces have had the ability since the (Iran-Iraq) war to completely control the Strait of Hormuz and not allow even a single drop of oil to pass through.”

Fadavi added: “IRGC special naval forces are present on all of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s ships in the Indian Ocean and to its east and west, to prevent any movement.

“This IRGC naval force presence in international waters will increase.”

Iran has repeatedly threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz shipping channel, through which 40 percent of the world’s sea-borne oil exports passes, in retaliation for sanctions placed on its crude exports by Western powers. Read More