Obama’s air-sea blockade plan for Iran delays Israeli strike. Hormuz at stake?
US President Barack Obama has again persuaded Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to hold off attacking Iran’s nuclear program in the coming months by promising a new set of severe sanctions against Iran. US administration officials assured debkafile’s Washington sources that Israel’s leaders were won over by the Obama administration’s promise to ratchet up US and Europe sanctions against Iran if the next round of negotiations with the six world powers in less than two weeks gets bogged down again.
These are the new sanctions hanging over Iran as reported by our sources
1. On July 1, the Europeans will activate the embargo that left pending on Iranian oil exports and banks.
2. In the fall, the US administration will bring out its most potent economic weapon: an embargo on aircraft and sea vessels visiting Iranian ports. Any national airline or international aircraft touching down in Iran will be barred from US and West European airports. The same rule will apply to private and government-owned vessels, including oil tankers. Calling in at an Iranian port will automatically exclude them from entry to a US or European harbor.
This sanction would clamp down an air and naval siege on the Islamic Republic without a shot being fired.
Word of the US plan prompted a deliberately provocative visit by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari Thursday, May 31 to his forces stationed on the disputed three islands commanding the Strait of Hormuz, Abu Musa, Little Tunb and Big Tumb.
The islands are claimed by the United Arab Emirates. A previous visit by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on April 11 stirred up a major outcry in the Gulf region.
In Washington, Jafari’s visit it was taken as Tehran’s reminder of its repeated threat to close the Hormuz Straits in the event of a blockade to the transit of a large part of the world’s oil.
3. President Obama promised Prime Minister Netanyahu to deal personally with India and Indonesia, the most flagrant violators of anti-Iran sanctions who make their financial networks available for helping Tehran evade restrictions on its international business activities.
Washington, according to our sources, made sure its sanctions plan was leaked to Tehran through diplomatic and intelligence back channels as a means of twisting Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s arm into instructing his negotiators at the Moscow talks on June 16 to start showing flexibility on the world powers’ demands to discontinue uranium enrichment up to 20 percent and stop blocking international nuclear agency inspectors’ access to sites suspected of engaging in nuclear weapons development.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton no doubt had Israel’s latest concession to the Obama administration in mind, Sunday, June 3, when she brushed aside as “nothing new” questions about Khamenei’s threat to respond to an Israeli attack with “thunderous response.” She explained, “We look forward to what the Iranians actually bring to the table in Moscow. We want to see a diplomatic resolution. We now have an opportunity to achieve it, and we hope it is an opportunity that’s not lost, for everyone’s sake.”
Tehran has now been made aware that if that opportunity is indeed lost, there may be some pretty heavy music to face in the form of an international air and sea embargo.