India Intelligence Report

   Iran Threats Oil Disruption


In addition to its previous threats of attacking Israel and occupied coalition armies in Iraq and Afghanistan, Iran responded to bellicose statements from certain American establishments and promised to attack oil and natural gas ships if it is attacked by the US.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei promised not to be the “initiator of war” but warned that “shipment of energy from this region will be seriously jeopardized.” This threat will have to be considered seriously because much of the world’s oil passes through the narrow Straits of Hormuz and Iran is the fourth largest oil exporter and the second biggest power within the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). This seems to be a departure from its earlier position to use oil as a weapon in the standoff with Western nations over its nuclear program.

Iran fears unnatural dependency on the West for nuclear fuel and being enslaved to support American policies. Iran’s position is not very far away from India’s position on nuclear rights. India was supporting Iran on its nuclear program till recently when there was increasing circumstantial evidence that it has been buying nuclear weapons technology from disgraced Pakistani nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan. Given there is some suspicion over the possibility that Iran is seeking to acquire nuclear weapons, India has been cautious to invite yet another nuclear weapons armed neighbor. That explains the Indian vote against the Iranian nuclear program in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Instead, India has been encouraging Iran to embrace the Russian compromise formula that seeks to enrich uranium exclusively for Iran on Russian soil. Iran seemed to initially like this proposal and even introduced three conditions but has since rejected this proposal saying that its right to enrich uranium under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) cannot be denied.

The US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice dismissed this threat arguing that such actions to attack ship will damage Iran’s interest badly too. Rice said that the so-called permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) have also reached consensus and will grant Iran “weeks not months” to make up its mind on the proposals for rapprochement. She said that “The International Community is not prepared to wait while Iran continues down its path.” While she seems to suggest that both China and Russia are on board with this line, neither country has publicly accepted or denied it.

The US National Intelligence Director John Negroponte said that Iran “seem to be determined to develop nuclear weapons” admitting that the US does not “have a clear-cut knowledge” but anticipated that Iran may posses a nuclear weapon by 2010. Iran has consistently denied that it is looking for nuclear weapons and says that it wants it only for peaceful power generation.