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U.S. Warns Iran May Attack Oil Tankers In The Persian Gulf

The U.S. Maritime Administration issued on Friday a maritime advisory warning that Iran or its proxies could target oil infrastructure and commercial ships, including oil tankers, in and around the Persian Gulf.

“Since early May, there is an increased possibility that Iran and/or its regional proxies could take action against U.S. and partner interests, including oil production infrastructure, after recently threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz. Iran or its proxies could respond by targeting commercial vessels, including oil tankers, or U.S. military vessels in the Red Sea, Bab-el-Mandeb Strait, or the Persian Gulf,” says the U.S. Maritime Administration’s advisory which is effective until early November 2019.

The tension between the United States and Iran has flared up in recent weeks, after the U.S. announced in April that it was ending all sanction waivers for Iranian oil customers, aiming to cut Iran’s oil exports to zero.

Iran, for its part, is accusing the U.S. and its allies of using oil as a political tool and has repeatedly said that American sanctions can’t and won’t bring Iranian oil exports to zero.

On Wednesday, Iran said that it was suspending some of its commitments under the nuclear deal and threatened to resume enriching uranium to a higher level if the remaining signatories to the deal—the EU, Russia, and China—don’t fulfill within 60 days their commitments to Iran, including protecting Iranian oil trade from U.S. sanctions.

The U.S. responded to the flare-up in tensions with Iran with Iran’s Special Envoy Brian Hook vowing that any attack against the United States or its allies would be met with a show of force.

In a statement on Iran’s escalating series of threatening actions and statements, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday:

“The regime in Tehran should understand that any attacks by them or their proxies of any identity against U.S. interests or citizens will be answered with a swift and decisive U.S. response. Our restraint to this point should not be mistaken by Iran for a lack of resolve.”

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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Leave a comment
  • Mamdouh Salameh on May 11 2019 said:
    John Bolton, President Trump’s national security adviser and a fanatic neo-conservative to boot and Brian Hook a US Special Envoy on Iran and a crude bragger could between them plunge the Persian Gulf in a destructive war whose destruction could be felt for many years to come among the Gulf countries and Israel.

    The claim by the US Maritime Administration that Iran or its proxies could target oil infrastructure and commercial ships including oil tankers in and around the Persian Gulf is pure fiction and is part of a psychological warfare being waged on Iran by the United States.

    Iran will never haphazardly try to close the Strait of Hormuz but it is on record threatening that if its oil imports were prevented from passing the Strait of Hormuz, then no other oil exports from the Gulf will pass the Strait either.

    US sanctions against Iran have so far failed to adversely impact on Iranian oil exports. Furthermore, the Iran zero exports option is a bridge too far. If, however, the United States means by it intercepting Iranian crude exports and preventing them from crossing the Strait of Hormuz, then this will mean war with Iran engulfing the whole Gulf region. In such a situation, a mining of the Strait of Hormuz and even attacks on Ras Tannura, Saudi Arabia’s huge oil terminal in the Gulf and the world’s biggest oil terminal would be targeted by Iran.

    Moreover, if the United States opted to walk away from the Iranian nuclear deal, then Iran has every right to suspend some of its commitments under the nuclear deal including enriching uranium to a higher level if the remaining signatories to the deal—the EU, Russia, and China—don’t fulfil within 60 days their commitments to Iran, including protecting Iranian oil trade from U.S. sanctions. The alternative is war in the Gulf.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London

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