News / Middle East

Analysts: Iran's Threats in Gulf Unlikely to Lead to War

On January 3, 2012 the Pentagon answered an Iranian warning to keep U.S. aircraft carriers out of the Persian Gulf by declaring that American warships will continue regularly scheduled deployments to the strategic waterway, (File).
On January 3, 2012 the Pentagon answered an Iranian warning to keep U.S. aircraft carriers out of the Persian Gulf by declaring that American warships will continue regularly scheduled deployments to the strategic waterway, (File).

Iran’s recent threat to close the Strait of Hormuz led to a defiant U.S. response. It raised concerns of a military clash in the Persian Gulf and also raised oil prices.  Some analysts do not expect the war of words to escalate into a military conflict.

Iran fired missiles and exercised its navy, amid sharp rhetoric from officials who warned the United States not to move an aircraft carrier into the Persian Gulf - something it routinely does.

U.S. officials made clear operations will continue in the Gulf, which is an international waterway.

Iran expert Mark Fitzpatrick believes Iran's threat are hollow.

“It’s laughable that anyone would think that the U.S. Navy is going to listen to Iran’s instructions and be shut out of an area of operation in international waters.  It’s just not going to happen," he said. "In that sense, Iran’s threats have a kind of emptiness to them that should be readily apparent to anyone.”

Iran also threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, through which 20 percent of the world’s oil flows - a move the United States would not tolerate.  Still, Fitzpatrick says this week’s rhetoric is not likely to lead to war.

“I don’t think that we are going to see a military conflict in the weeks or couple months to come,” he added.

But he says if Iran gets closer to producing a nuclear weapon, that could trigger military moves by the United States or Israel.  Iranian officials say their nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes.

Still, Iran seems to be feeling the sting of Western pressures. The U.S. and its European allies say the latest in 30 years of international sanctions are beginning to hurt Iran's economy, because they focus on oil.

“Now that sanctions are beginning to bite on Iran’s sale of oil, it gets to the very heart of the Iranian economy.  So they are feeling under some great pressure.  And countries under pressure react in various ways, often by lashing out,” Fitzpatrick stated.

But Fitzpatrick says the Iranian rhetoric also has a practical impact pushing up oil prices and providing Iran with a small infusion of cash.  

And analyst James Brazier of the IHS consulting firm says it would be foolish for the West to ignore Iran's threats. “Iran has invested heavily in its navy, and especially in unconventional tactics that could disrupt shipping through the Strait.  So as a result, I think one shouldn’t dismiss the ability of the Iranian Navy to disrupt shipping in the Gulf, but probably not for a very long time,” he said.

Experts say the Iran-U.S. tensions are likely to continue to rise and fall until either Iran builds a nuclear weapon or the West finds a way to convince Iran to halt its controversial nuclear program.

You May Like

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid