This weekend, the EU and the US imposed some of the harshest sanctions on Iran yet. Aside from the already impactful decision to cease buying Iranian oil, member countries have now agreed to refuse insurance for tankers carrying Iranian oil. Almost immediately, prices in Iran skyrocketed.Iran didn’t just take the punch though; they threw a big ‘ole uppercut right back.
Just a few hours after the sanctions started, Iran’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee drafted a bill proposing preventing oil tankers from travelling through the Strait of Hormuz to countries in support of the sanctions. Currently, about 20% of the world’s oil passes through this strait.
Iran then proceeded to begin testing ballistic missiles, including the Shahab-3 missile, which can travel distances up to 2,000 kilometers—far enough to hit Israel and the southern shore of Europe, according to the AFP.
Missile testing of this nature in Iran is not unique, but the message they were trying to send was. On March 4th, Obama expressed that ‘all options remain on the table’ concerning the handling of Iran and their nuclear program.
“The message of these Grand Prophet 7 manoeuvres is to show the determination, the will and the power of the Iranian people in defending their national interests and core values”, said Salami. “It’s a reaction to those who are politically discourteous to the Iranian people by saying ‘all options are on the table.”
The United States had been planning on events like these for a while however. In March, the Navy began sending mine sweeping ships to the strait, believing that if Iran were to try and close the strait, they would choose mines over direct military confrontation.
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