The UN Security Council has finally managed to agree on a plan for its chairman’s declaration concerning Iran’s nuclear programme. The document, representing something of a compromise, has satisfied both the USA along with its European allies who were demanding the harshest possible variant, and Russia and China, who were insisting on a more lenient approach to the Iranian problem. The declaration which Cesar Mayoral, Argentina’s permanent representative and the chairman in March, announced on behalf of all 15 members of the Security Council emphasizes that the adherence to the moratorium will work alongside a diplomatic solution to the problem, “which would guarantee that the Iranian nuclear programme has exclusively peaceful aims”.
However, the main decision involves charging the director general of the IAEA Mohammed Al-Baradei with the task of informing the UN Security Council within 30 days on whether Teheran is fulfilling the council’s corresponding resolutions. Let us remember that the USA insisted on a much shorter deadline. The permanent members of the Security Council and Germany will discuss further measures at a meeting in Berlin, which will open on the 30th March. Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov will also take part.
Unsurprisingly Teheran has taken a cold view of the Security Council’s initiative. In particular, Iran’s permanent UN representative Mohammad Javad Zarif declared on Thursday that his country is prepared to cooperate in order to solve the Iranian nuclear problem, but he considers pressure and threats to be unacceptable. He also noted that the Islamic Republic is determined to realize its right to possess peaceful atomic technology, and that this right is provided for by international legislation in the sphere of nuclear non-proliferation.
At the same time, Iran is preparing a military reply to go alongside the diplomatic one. A demonstration of Teheran’s strength will take place from 31st March to 6th April in the Strait of Ormuz, which links the Persian Gulf with the Indian Ocean. Naval exercises will be carried out there, according to unofficial information with the aim of demonstrating to the whole world that Iran controls this essential stretch of water, through which 80% of the oil refined in the Persian Gulf region makes its way onto the world markets.
According to naval commander Rear-Admiral Mostapha Safari, alongside the naval fleet, the air, land-based and missile sections of the Iranian regular army will take part in the manoeuvres, as well as the paramilitary forces of the Islamic Basij militia. “The exercises will be carried out 40 km from the shore in a strip beginning at the most northerly point of the Iranian seaboard of the Persian Gulf and ending at the port of Chakhbekhar in the Gulf of Oman,” specified the admiral.
17 thousand soldiers, 1.5 thousand ships of various sorts, jet fighters and bombers will take part in the manoeuvres. It is telling that Iran is also planning to test launch a Shahab-2 ballistic missile with a range of 500 km. The USA and its allies have said that this missile is capable of carrying a nuclear weapon, if Iran ever obtains them. In the Iranian army and navy’s exercises practically all the key military bases on the shores of the Persian Gulf will be used. “These manoeuvres are being carried out to act as a counter-measure in the psychological war which has been unleashed against Iran, and to increase the defense capabilities of our army,” Rear-Admiral Safari candidly reported.
Henceforth the fears of some analysts are being confirmed, in that Iran is preparing to answer the introduction of sanctions or any military aggression with a total blockade of the Persian Gulf. This will cause a catastrophic oil crisis throughout the world, including in the USA, Europe and Japan . And if we take into account the strength and combat readiness of the Iranian army, which significantly exceeds that of Iraq’s military forces at the beginning of America’s second invasion there, we can suppose that the expected oil crisis will be drawn out and may lead to a full-scale worldwide economic collapse.
Translated by James Platt