On June 2, Israeli warplanes carried out an exercise in the eastern Mediterranean Sea that was interpreted by military analysts as a rehearsal for a strike on Iranian nuclear sites. In July, the U.S. Fifth Fleet conducted maneuvers to practice protecting Gulf oil rigs. Days later Iran said its military test- fired a missile with a 2,000-kilometer (1,243-mile) range. ``In case of venturing into hostility with Iran, the U.S.'s 200,000 troops in the region would be in serious danger,'' IRNA cited Safavi, who is Khamenei's armed forces adviser, as saying. The government in Tehran has indicated several times that it may respond to any attack by closing the Strait of Hormuz, a chokepoint between Iran and Oman at the mouth of the Persian Gulf through which about a fifth of the world's daily oil supply is shipped. ``The Revolutionary Guards' naval forces are more active in the Persian Gulf than the navy and their equipment is very advanced,'' said Akbar Montajabi, a political analyst and deputy editor-in-chief of the privately owned weekly Shahrvand Emrouz. ``They are playing the main role in the Gulf. They have their fingers on the pulse of the Hormuz Strait.''
The announcement today gave their role an official stamp, and also had a ``promotional dimension,'' he said. The decision was a means of responding to ``threats that are every now and again expressed about possible military attacks against Iran,'' Montajabi said. Iran's defiance over its nuclear program may increase pressure from the U.S. and its allies. Tension between Russia and the West over the Georgia conflict has sharpened Russian opposition to pressuring Iran at the UN, U.S. and British envoys said last week. That may limit the prospects for a fourth round of UN Security Council sanctions against the Persian Gulf country. China indicated today that it may not be prepared to back further sanctions. China and Russia are both veto-wielding, permanent members of the UN Security Council. ``China has always believed that negotiation is the only way to resolve the Iran nuclear issue,'' Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said at a regular media briefing today in Beijing. ``I don't think sanctions are the way out.'' France will back U.S. moves for a fourth round of sanctions, the French Foreign Ministry said. ``We have no choice but to work, in the coming days and weeks, on a new sanctions resolution at the Security Council,'' ministry spokesman Eric Chevallier said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Ladane Nasseri in Tehran at email@example.com.
|Posted 16/9/2008 @ 19:37:0 GMT|
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