Iran Threatens to Strike Back at U.S.
Iran has threatened to attack U.S. bases in the Mideast if the U.S. strikes its nuclear facilities.
“The U.S. may initiate a devilish act, but continuing and ending that event would certainly be out of its control,” Deputy Interior Minister Mohammad Bagher Zolghadr said June 9. “All U.S. bases in the region” are “within the range” of Iran’s weapons, he added (Bloomberg, June 11).
Qatar, Bahrain and Oman all host U.S. military bases that Iran could target.
“The objective will be to stun the American missile defense system using dozens if not hundreds of missiles that will be launched simultaneously at certain targets,” said Adm. Ali Shamkhani, Iran’s former defense minister (Haaretz.com, June 11).
Shamkhani directed his comments primarily to U.S. allies in the region and added that oil refineries and power stations would be targeted in addition to U.S. bases.
Zolghadr also warned that oil prices would rise to $250 a barrel “if security in the region, the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf is disturbed.” Previously, Iran has specifically threatened to jeopardize oil shipments passing through the choke point if the country were attacked.
Almost a quarter of the word’s oil flows through the Strait of Hormuz, which borders Iran, the second-largest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (opec).
These comments from senior Iranian officials came at a time of heightened tensions over Iran’s nuclear program.
A meeting between a senior Iranian envoy and the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (iaea) was canceled mid-June because of Iran’s refusal to provide answers about past atomic activities as promised.
A senior diplomatic source connected to the iaea said at the end of June that Iran already had over 1,300 uranium enrichment centrifuges online and was on pace for 3,000 by the end of July. That number of centrifuges could provide Iran with enough enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb within a year, experts say.
Mohamed ElBaradei, the iaea director general, warned that the “current stalemate and brewing confrontation” could lead to a U.S.-Iranian war (Bloomberg, op. cit.).
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