Naval Blockade against Iran?
by Knut Mellenthin
The USA and the EU planning to escalate confrontation with Iran. A military blockade discussed.
In the conflict over Iran's civilian nuclear program, the United States and Europe are intensifying confrontation. At the top of the measures that are now being discussed is an international naval blockade by a "coalition of the willing." As in the Adriatic blockade against Yugoslavia in the first half of the 1990s, the coasts of Iran can be sealed off by a collective action by the NATO warships. This would involve the "not-so-willing" such as Germany early in a joint military operation against Iran, unlike in the Iraq War. A later exit from the military escalation would hardly be possible. Such a blockade has been favored by the Israeli government and the neo-conservative US media like the Wall Street Journal.
Also under discussion is an agreement to no longer supply the Iranian oil and gas industry with necessary technology and spare parts. The aim is to cause serious bottlenecks in production.
In principle, the US and the EU agreed to enforce their own coercive measures beyond the UN Security Council sanctions during President George W. Bush's visit to Europe. A declaration adopted last Tuesday says: "We are ready to supplement those (U.N. Security Council) sanctions with additional measures. We will continue to work together . . . to take steps to ensure Iranian banks cannot abuse the international banking system to support proliferation and terrorism."
The term "terrorism" refers to Hamas, Hezbollah, and all Iraqi organizations and movements that do not conform to Washington. In agreeing to this declaration, the EU states for the first time accepted the US government's foreign policy which had long been linking Tehran's nuclear program and its foreign policy. It is now also official that what is at stake is not just the nuclear program, but the total subjection of Iran to a US-EU diktat.
Against this background, the artificially magnified importance of Javier Solana's weekend visit to Iran was only a propaganda stunt. The EU's foreign policy officer presented Tehran with an "incentive package" to which the "Iran Six" -- China, Germany, France, Britain, Russia, and the US -- had agreed in mid-May. It demands that Iran stop all work on uranium enrichment. It offers nothing in return -- except the supposed readiness to continue to discuss some issues. The Iranian government spokesman Gholam-Hossein Elham made a statement: "If the package includes suspension it is not debatable at all. Iran's position is clear: any precondition is unacceptable."
The original article in German appeared in junge Welt on 16 June 2008, under the title "Solanas »Anreizpaket« für Teheran" [Solana's "Incentive Package" for Tehran]. Translation by Yoshie Furuhashi.