Who will blink first?

This week, the Iranian currency slid to a record low against the dollar after the United States imposed new economic sanctions over Tehran’s controversial nuclear programme.

Iran’s response was to indulge in a serious bout of sabre-rattling. The country’s army commander Ataollah Salehi threatened to respond with “full force” if a US aircraft carrier is redeployed to the Gulf. “We don’t have the intention of repeating our warning, and we warn only once,” he said.

Iran plans to conduct further military drills in the Strait of Hormuz in February, following on from naval exercises carried out at the end of last year. Salehi has made it clear these are intended as a warning to the United States. “Those who have come as enemies should be afraid of our manoeuvres,” he said. The recent drills featured the test-firing of missiles designed to sink warships.

The Strait of Hormuz is a critical shipping lane leading out of the Gulf. According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency, 17 million barrels of oil per day passed through the strait in 2011. There is no way the US Navy will be bullied into keeping out of the area and must therefore risk a ship.

So who will blink first?

Clearly, any disruption of Gulf shipping would provide America and its allies with a convenient excuse to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. No matter how hard the sanctions are biting, Tehran’s leaders would not risk that. Would they?

About thespeedofdark

David Winship has written an unauthorised autobiography and several critically disdained literary tomes. His work is frequently compared with Steinbeck, Orwell and Hemingway, but unfortunately Mike Steinbeck, Daisy Orwell and Howard Hemingway were all terrible writers. He has been totally overlooked for the most prestigious literary awards worldwide, which is a shame as most of the words are spelled correctly. In fact, his books contain material that ranks with the finest literary works in history: all the right letters are there, just not necessarily in the right order.

Dave’s blog (The Speed Of Dark Blog) is part of his crusade for truth and justice and universal entitlement to free real ale. It may well be that his whole purpose in life is to serve as a warning to others.

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