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More US battle ships head to Persian Gulf

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USS Carl Vinson

The US is deploying more warships to the Persian Gulf area, with the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson entering the Arabian Sea. Washington is also winning over Japan and India in the oil sanction war against Iran.

The Pentagon denies the USS Carl Vinson has been dispatched to the Gulf region over the Strait of Hormuz tensions.

“Her deployment in that area is routine, long-planned – there’s nothing unusual about that,” said Pentagon spokesman John Kirby.

The Carl Vinson, carrying up to 80 planes and helicopters on board and backed by a cruiser, destroyer, has not gone the through of Strait of Hormuz, a major oil lane, which Iran is threatening to block if the West imposes sanctions on its crude exports.

According to the American broadcaster Fox News, the group is now in the Arabian Sea. The Pentagon says the warships have arrived “not in the Gulf,” but in the area in the US Fifth Fleet’s responsibility. That, apart from the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, includes the Red Sea and some parts of the Indian Ocean.

Though now Washington says the USS John C. Stennis, which crossed the Strait of Hormuz on December 29, is not expected to return to the Gulf, the US Navy confirms another aircraft carrier is to join the Carl Vinson. This is the USS Abraham Lincoln, currently in the Indian Ocean and en route to the strike group.

The UK has also commissioned one of its newest warships to the Gulf waters. Royal Navy’s Type 45 destroyer HMS Daring set out for its “routine” mission to replace a frigate on station previous week.

The UK joined the US in a pledge not to allow Iran to block traffic in the Strait of Hormuz, which connects the Persian Gulf with the Gulf of Oman. Tehran’s harsh rhetoric was provoked by the prospect of an international embargo on its oil based on allegations that Iran plans to build nuclear weapons.

New British Royal Navy destroyer HMS Daring, the first of the Royal Navy's new Type 45 destroyers, leaves the southern English harbour of Portsmouth on January 11, 2012

­More members in ‘Sanction Iran’ club

Coupled with warship maneuvering, Washington’s is also sharpening its axe for Iran’s economy. US diplomats have set out on a war path to talk other countries into punishing Iran for a prospect its nuclear program might deviate from the civil route.

On Thursday, Washington won over Japan, a major importer of Iranian crude, to impose tough oil sanctions against Tehran. Japan, according to Finance Minister Jun Azumi, imports about 10 per cent of its oil necessities from Iran.

“We plan to start reducing this 10 per cent share as soon as possible in a planned manner,” said Azumi.

In India, the government is also not seeking “to waver” from the American steer, reports Reuters, quoting their sources in the cabinet. India, which spends $12 billion on Iranian oil per year, is Tehran’s largest oil buyer after the biggest customer, China.

China on Wednesday reacted coolly to the US efforts. Beijing slammed US sanctions on financial institutions dealing with the Iranian Central Bank, which President Barack Obama approved on New Year’s Eve.

“To place one country’s domestic law above international law and press others to obey is not reasonable,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin.

China, consuming up to 30 percent of Iran’s crude daily exports, comes up as a key player in the sanctions game.

Meanwhile, in the Strait of Hormuz build-up, the Arab Emirate of Abu Dhabi has sped up the construction of a pipeline bypassing this bottleneck. The trial of the Fujairah pipeline has been moved to May, reports the Emirates 24/7 news website.

The Fujairah is set to transport 1.4 million barrels per day (mbpd). Tankers currently take up to 17 mbpd through the strait.

Hormuz Straitjacket: US-Iranian standoff

It does not appease Washington that the international nuclear watchdog is on site closely monitoring Iran’s nuclear activities.

“Are they trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No. But we know that they’re trying to develop a nuclear capability. And that’s what concerns us. And our red line to Iran is ‘Do not develop a nuclear weapon,’” said US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.

Iran’s main source of livelihood – its oil export – is in danger. The US is imposing fresh sanctions that will dramatically complicate transactions through Iran’s Central Bank. Iran is also close to losing Europe as a customer.

Cornered by crippling sanctions, Iran threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz – a vital oil artery through which one sixth of the world’s oil is shipped.

The US has replied by moving its Fifth Fleet to the region, saying if Iran goes for it, they will attack.

Experts say the policy of isolating Iran may lead to other threats from Tehran and a possibility that one day they will go through with their threats.

Washington signals that it is ready, or at least it wants everybody to believe that it is ready.

Some believe it is just a war of words, and neither side will go for an all-out conflict, considering what a disaster it would be for the whole region. It may be a war of words, but actions are already showing.

Thousands of US troops are being deployed to Israel. An American citizen in Iran has been sentenced to death, convicted of espionage.

A look back in history – the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, the heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne, in 1914 set in motion a series of events that led to World War One and then, World War Two.

With regards to Iran today, the possible blocking of the Strait of Hormuz could become that trigger. Or it could be the killing of the American citizen.

Iran might feel cornered, and therefore make drastic moves. Right now it is a war of words. But one bullet fired and the powder keg could blow up. The question is: what is going to provide that deadly spark?


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  • 67

    If most of our ships get damaged or sank,that leves us wide open
    So be careful what you ask for

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    Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
  • Mike

    Lets get it on. Its 2012 and theres nothing better to do.

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  • fugitive

    its not iran who will trigger WW3 but Israel, US and its allies by putting sanctions on iran.
    I wonder y israel the most terrorist state in the world is not facing such sanctions.

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  • Concerned

    It’s just more childlike aggressive posturing from the US. Iran is confident as it has the support of China and Russia.

    The US has painted itself into a corner and must now keep up a pretence of threatening Iran, even though it is too afraid of China and Russia to actually do it.

    The only possible senario now is that the US will use Israel to attack Iranian nuclear sites. Iran has no US-style agenda of military domination of other countries so will most likely take the matter to the UN. if this happens, Iran suffers delay in nuclear development, the US gets to childishly macho posture and save face and Israel will be just as internationally despised as before.

    If Iran responds militarily against Israel, this would allow the US to take on Iran in the ‘defence’ of Israel and arguably belay accusations of attacking Chinese and Russian national interests.

    The US is too cowardly to confront China or Russia directly so manipulates to reframe situations, whilst retaining the same objectives.

    China and Russia must intervene or arrogant US’ belief in its own invincibility will simply be reinforced.

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  • john

    What a load of shit.
    China and Russia have been breaking every agreement with the west funding proxy wars against us, stealing our technology,Cyber attacking us constantly and just following there own agenda of attempting to build themselves up militarily and it has not stopped since the cold war. If its anybody wanting to start a war it is Russia and China. China especially. And then China will try to dominate Russia. The Iranians are just the stooges in the middle doing the dirty work for the others . The rest including Syria has been one of there dogs for a long time. All the propaganda machines are going full blast here against the west. The US and west helps build up Russia’s and China’s economy’s so we can do increase trade and now they are turning on US. It was predicted in the seventies that Russia would do this and now china wants to dominate the world because it will consume the entire planets resources. If the west lost Russia would be next. They will be duped by the Chinese. BUT Don’t think the west will go down easily. China and Russia will go down with US. The best thing is to let the americans pin down Iran They are the primary troublemakers and Liars.

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  • Mike S

    One of the parties is going to make a mistake and that will kick off WW3. Im thinking May or June.

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  • Chris T

    If i was the US goverment i would Become Allies with RUSSIA and China and Build a Military Partnership with them and Take over the Entire Middle East This way All 3 Nation’s have all of the world’s Resources Split because between The US Military Russia’s Army and China’s army we could walk hand in hand and conquer the Entire Middle east with in a week! Why fight each other Over a Few Idiot’s in the middle east Who everyone Knows are Only the Middle Men… It’s too Easy to Take them all out if the Major world Power’s Joined Forces and stopped Fighting over stupid crap from the 40’s.. Shit Being a American I don’t know why were still fighting Over dumb shit… And the Most Stupid Part is Each nation talk’s shit about the others Civilians Meanwhile None of us Care what the Other Country is doing Nor do we Want to be the World Police!! I say Let Every nation Kill one another if they want too…

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  • Scott

    System of a down: “Why don’t presidents fight the war, why do they always send the poor?” It is better to die on your feet than live on your knees. This year is a coin toss. Our world can go in two directions. Right now it is self-fulfilling prophecies, which fuels it more through panic and finger pointing. The only REAL question is how do we cause the world to switch direction?

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