Escalating tension between Iran and the West

Iran’s nuclear program crisis seems unlikely to subside in the near future. Tension has grown from continuous confrontation in diplomacy, economic and even military between Iran and western countries, particularly the US.

Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi on December 26 reiterated that Iran has very high defense capabilities, particularly in decoding unmanned aircraft to counter covert operations. He said Iran on its own has achieved great success under the most difficult circumstances and comprehensive sanctions.

One day earlier, the Commander of the Iranian Navy, Habibollah Sayyari said Iran is building its second modern destroyer, the Jamaran 2. In addition, Tehran has conducted a 10-day war game in the Hormuz Strait which has raised concerns that the country would close the world’s biggest oil route in the event of military conflict with the West.

Recently, Israel and the US staged a war of words with Iran accusing the country of seeking nuclear weapons and announcing that they would not rule out military attacks if diplomatic measures fail. Tehran condemned Washington and Tel Aviv for possessing weapons of mass destruction including nuclear warheads. It also threatened to target Israel and 32 US military bases in the Middle East and close the Hormuz strait if Iran is attacked.

If this happens, the whole world will be destabilized as Hormuz is one of the world’s most important sea routes, through which 40 percent of the world’s crude oil is transported.

Tension between Iran and the West increased when Tehran recovered a US unmanned aircraft earlier this month. Pentagon officials are worried that similar planes will now become available to other countries.

Tehran has announced it will file protests with the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, the Organization for Islamic Cooperation and the Non Aligned Movement (NAM) accusing the US of violating its space. Iran rejected as "completely baseless" US allegations that it is harboring an al Qaeda member Syrian-born Yasin al-Suri, who is accused of operating as a facilitator and financier for Al Qeada from within Iran.

The US recently expanded its sanctions against Iran to include 10 "shipping and front companies and one individual based in Malta" affiliated with the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines. Meanwhile, diplomats from the US, the EU and their allies are discussing further sanctions including an EU oil embargo.