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Netanyahu: Iran’s Oil Smuggling Needs To Stop

Iran is smuggling crude oil in violation of the U.S. sanctions and this needs to stop, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, urging the international community to do the stopping, the Times of Israel reports.

Speaking at a graduation ceremony at a naval base in Haifa, the Prime Minister said “Iran is trying to bypass the sanctions on it through the covert smuggling of petroleum via the sea,” adding “As these attempts expand, the navy will have a more important role in efforts to block these Iranian actions.”

The latter part of this statement is particularly interesting since the Israeli navy has not traditionally had any presence in the Persian Gulf.

The Israeli Prime Minister also called on the international community to “halt, by any means, Iran’s attempts to bypass the sanctions via the sea.”

However most of what we usually mean by the international community is still part of the Iran nuclear deal: the UK, France, Germany, Russia, and China. None of these countries wants to antagonize Iran or cut off relations with it, which makes Neanyahu’s calls for halting Iran’s oil exports devoid of actual meaning.

Last month, Iran carried out a large-scale military drill in the Persian Gulf in the latest muscle-flexing exercise as the United States—which unlike Israel has a presence in the Gulf—steps up the sanction pressure on Tehran.

Several Tehran officials have threatened to close off the Strait of Hormuz if the country’s oil exports are reduced to zero, which has prompted the U.S. to strengthen its presence in the Gulf. So far, the threats have not had consequences, with the likelihood of Iran’s oil exports going down to zero roughly equal to the likelihood of any other power present in the Gulf letting it close off the world’s top oil chokepoint.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on March 07 2019 said:
    Iran has a legitimate right under international law to defend itself and its oil exports against US sanctions which are national sanctions and not UN-approved sanctions even if it has to resort to smuggling. Wouldn’t Israel have done the same and more if it was in a similar situation?

    And since Israel has no naval presence in the Gulf, the call by Israel’s Prime Minister to block what he describes as Iranian smuggling of its oil is an attempt to egg the United States to do so.

    Israel was behind the Trump administration’s decision to walk away from the UN-approved nuclear deal with Iran and it will be very happy to see the United States go to war with Iran irrespective of the huge damage such a war will inflict on the Gulf countries and the global economy.

    While Israel objects to Iran violating US sanctions, it has itself a history of violating UN Security Council resolutions. Which country alone in the Middle East has nuclear weapons? Answer: Israel. Which country refuses to sign a non-proliferation treaty and bars international inspectors? Answer: Israel. Which country has seized the sovereign territory of other nations by military force, which it continues to hold in defiance of UN resolutions? Answer: Israel.

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

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