Photo: AP/Vahid Salemi
The rhetoric was turned up today when Iran’s PressTV pointed a finger to the West and said the U.S. and Israel were the “prime sources of Tyranny and gloom”.Ha’aretz reports the speaker of Iran’s parliament Ali Larijani said Thursday that the new sanctions would do nothing to dampen Tehran’s drive toward a nuclear program, and that a recent missile drill showed what will come if there is more “bullying” from the West.
Speaking at a Tehran conference, Larijani was cited by Iran’s Press TV as saying that “the time has come for the disappearance of the West and the Zionist regime – which are two dark spots in the present era – from the face of the universe.”
“The U.S. and the Zionist regime are the prime sources of tyranny and gloom in the current age. The Muslim world is fed up with the injustice and abuse by these governments,” Larijani added.
Here is an update on what’s happening with Iran from Business Insider’s Michael Kelley that went up a few days ago:
• On July 1 EU sanctions designed to further cripple and even break Iran’s economy – its national currency lost close to half its value against the U.S. dollar in the past year – went into effect. The sanctions ban imports of Iranian oil by EU states, a market that bought 18 per cent of Iran’s exports last year, and bar EU companies from transporting Iranian crude or insuring shipments.
• Also on Sunday Iran began a new round of war games, firing missiles at models of foreign air bases amid deployment of subs and speed boats. In the three-day exercise, Iran has successfully fired several dozen missiles – including a medium-range Shahab-3 ballistic weapon with a range capable of striking Israel – that supplement shorter-range missiles already equipped near the strait.
• About 120 lawmakers in Iran’s 290-seat parliament have signed a draft bill calling for the Strait of Hormuz to be closed to oil tankers headed to Europe in retaliation for an EU embargo on Iranian crude. Although the proposal has no chance of becoming law unless allowed by Iran’s supreme leader, the closing of the strait is a “red line” that would trigger a U.S. military reaction.
• The U.S. has continued to build up its military presence around the strait. In late April a group of the beleaguered F-22 Raptor — the world’s most expensive jet — joined F-15 Eagles in the Middle East for an unprecedented level of “F-22/F-15 air dominance team” training.
The naval force includes the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, the USS Ponce (which will serve as a floating staging base and perhaps a base for Special Operations forces), four more Navy minesweeper ships and airborne mine countermeasure helicopters (including MH-53 Sea Dragons).
“The message to Iran is, ‘Don’t even think about it,’ ” one senior defence Department official told the New York Times. “Don’t even think about closing the strait. We’ll clear the mines. Don’t even think about sending your fast boats out to harass our vessels or commercial shipping. We’ll put them on the bottom of the gulf.”
• The U.S. has been seeking to expand military ties with the six nations in the Gulf Cooperation Council — Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman — through joint mine countermeasure exercises and purchases of American-made air defence systems and weaponry. The UAE and Bahrain announced on Sunday that they would be performing “several days” of joint air force exercises this week.
• Both UAE and Saudi Arabia have provided potential alternatives for shipping oil through the region: the UAE is nearing completion of a pipeline through its mountains that will allow it to reroute the bulk of its oil exports around the strait and Saudi Arabia reopened an old oil pipeline built by Iraq to bypass Gulf shipping lanes.
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