Iran Threats – The threats come after weeks of saber-rattling as new U.S. and EU financial sanctions take a toll on Iran’s economy from the embargo of oil imports.
It started over the Christmas holiday as the Iranian navy conducted a 10-day exercise in the strait which finished with a test firing of two long-range anti-ship missiles that could be used to target American aircraft carriers. The aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis steamed right through the the exercise on December 27 en route to the Arabian Sea in what surely could be described as an American show of force.
That prompted an Iranian military general to say the country was prepared to take necessary action if the Stennis returned to the Persian Gulf. Since the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet is stationed in Bahrain, the Stennis, or another carrier, will surely return. Indeed, the Pentagon said later in the day that the United States will continue to operate in the Persian Gulf.
Iran has responded to the tighter measures with belligerent rhetoric, spooking oil markets briefly when it announced last month it could prevent shipping through the Strait of Hormuz.
It then held 10 days of naval exercises in the Gulf, test firing missiles that could hit U.S. bases in the Middle East. Tuesday’s apparent threat to take action against the U.S. Navy in international waters takes the rhetoric to a new level.