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Iran Threatens to Stop Western Ships if Subjected to Cargo Inspection
June 17, 2010
Iran’s parliament has warned it will respond in kind to inspection of its ships under a fourth round of sanctions imposed on the country by the UN Security Council. A new round of sanctions are being drafted by the United States and the European Union.
|Sanctions imposed by the United Nations call for the inspection of all ships coming and going from Iran.|
“We warn the US and certain adventurist countries that if they are tempted to inspect Iranian air and ship cargos, we will take tough action against their ships in the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman,” said Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani on Wednesday. Larijani said any retaliatory move would be part of the country’s policy to defend national interests, according to the Fars News Agency.
Larijani said the Iranian parliament “calls on the government to not lessen the level of uranium enrichment below 20 percent since these countries have violated the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and refused to provide 20-percent enriched fuel for Tehran’s research reactor.”
Belgium’s Le Soir newspaper reported that European Union foreign ministers have agreed on a new package of EU sanctions against Iran. The new round of sanctions to be discussed at an EU summit on June 17 are in addition to sanctions imposed by the United Nations. Le Soir said the new EU sanctions will include a freeze on investment in Iran’s oil and gas sector and a ban on technology and equipment transfer.
The EU has imposed visa bans on senior officials such as Revolutionary Guards head Mohammad Ali Jafari, former Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar and former atomic energy chief Gholamreza Aghazadeh, and on top nuclear and ballistic experts.
On Wednesday Obama added several dozen Iranian individuals and organizations to its sanctions blacklist. The list includes 90 ship names that Iran’s international shipping company has allegedly been using to evade sanctions, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The sanctions passed on June 9 permit the West to board cargo ships headed to and from Iran. The new sanctions target at least three entities managed by the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines and 15 belonging to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
“Even if one Iranian ship is stopped for security-check, we will act likewise and thoroughly inspect any (western) ship passing through the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz,” member of the Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Hossein Ebrahimi said.
In response to increasing on the country, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad vowed to punish the West and force it to “sit at the negotiating table like a polite child” before beginning talks with it. He said his country would build four new nuclear reactors.
The inspection of vessels sets the stage for possible military incidents at sea between Iran and the U.S. Navy.
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula de Silva told the Security Council the situation developing at the United Nations may result in the same sort of fiasco that led to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, supposedly over its alleged weapons of mass destruction.
Brazil’s representative in the council was pointedly critical of the West’s disregard for the opportunity for a breakthrough provided last month by the Tehran declaration between Iran, Turkey and Brazil regarding a swap of fuel for Iran’s medical reactor in the Iranian capital, Asia Times Online reports.
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