News / Middle East

    Tensions Rise as Iran is Hurt by Western Sanctions

    Meredith Buel

    Tensions between Western countries and Iran over its nuclear program continue to rise as sanctions threaten the country’s economy.  Analysts are expressing concern a military confrontation could occur in the Middle East.

    Iranian war games in the Persian Gulf amid threats to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz.  The United States and Europe tighten sanctions to choke off Iranian oil revenues.  Iran begins enriching uranium at an underground plant, as one of its nuclear scientists is killed in a bomb attack.

    All signs, analysts say, that a military confrontation could be looming.

    International Institute of Strategic Studies expert Mark Fitzpatrick. “I think Iran is feeling under increasing pressure.  It is feeling, probably for the first time, sanctions that do have a real bite," he said.

    Iranian analysts say a possible oil embargo is essentially a declaration of war, and for the government to survive it will fight back.

    Sadegh Zibakalam of Tehran University said, “The only natural weapon that Iran has is to block the Strait of Hormuz.”

    U.S. military and diplomatic officials have warned that Iran will not be allowed to block the strait.  Patrick Clawson of The Washington Institute said, “And if they were to do that, I do not know if they quite realize that they would be crossing an American red line and that there would be military conflict.”

    The United States has been pressing allies in Asia to reduce the amount of oil imported from Iran, and President Barack Obama recently approved tough sanctions targeting Iran’s central bank to pressure Tehran to abandon its nuclear program.

    U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said, “And we are exploring ways to cut off the central bank from the international financial system and to reduce the earnings Iran derives from its oil exports.”

    As a result, prices are up in Iranian markets as inflation has skyrocketed.  Iran's currency is rapidly losing value.

    The pressure is mounting, says analyst Patrick Clawson. “Iran is finding itself in a much more difficult situation than when just the Americans were applying the pressure," he said.

    The International Atomic Energy Agency says there is evidence Iran is researching the development and delivery of nuclear weapons.  But Tehran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

    Iran has signaled it is willing to reopen negotiations with Western powers, but analysts say all the heated rhetoric could poison diplomatic efforts.

    Jamal Abdi of the National Iranian American Council said, “I see the sabre rattling as reducing the space necessary on both sides to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict.”

    Iran’s nuclear program is expected to be the topic of a new round of talks between Tehran and Western nations in the coming months.  Meanwhile, tensions intensify as sanctions continue to squeeze Iran’s economy.

    You May Like

    Russian-speaking Muslim Exiles Fear Possible Russia-Turkey Thaw

    Exiled from Russia as Islamic radicals and extremists, thousands found asylum in Turkey

    US Presidential Election Ends at Conventions for Territorial Citizens

    Citizens of US territories like Guam or Puerto Rico enjoy participation in US political process but are denied right to vote for president

    UN Syria Envoy: 'Devil Is in the Details' of Russian Aleppo Proposal

    UN uncertain about the possible humanitarian impact of Russian proposal to establish escape corridors in Aleppo

    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.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora