Last week, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, a supposed moderate, issued another ominous threat that the Iranian Regime intended to disrupt other countries’ oil shipments through the Persian Gulf if the US continued its efforts to stop Iranian oil exports as part of US sanctions on Iran.
He said: “America should know that we are selling our oil and will continue to sell our oil and they are not able to stop our oil exports. If one day they want to prevent the export of Iran’s oil, then no oil will be exported from the Persian Gulf.”
Back in July, he made similar threats that were backed up by the commander of the Revolutionary Guard Corps, who vowed to block oil shipments if the US restricted Iranian oil exports.
But these came to nothing, indicating that the Regime does not have the power to actually close the Strait of Hormuz, through which one-fifth of global oil shipments are shipped. They also probably realise that a blockade would only unite other countries against them and likely cause an overthrow of the Regime.
In fact, the USS John C. Stennis is already headed to the Persian Gulf, according to unnamed US officials, in order to “exhibit a show of force against Iran”, especially after Iran’s test firing of a medium-range nuclear-capable ballistic missile earlier this month.
Iran expert Michael Tomlinson wrote: “The threat of a blockade is about as serious as the claims by the mullahs that no dissension exists within the Islamic state, despite mounting protests throughout the country.”
Interestingly, despite a massive downward spiral in available funds, the Iranian Regime has dramatically increased its military budget for 2019, according to the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).
Iran’s military expenditure is the budget for 2018–19 is estimated at $19.6 billion of their $260 billion total budget or 7.5%, far beyond what anyone would consider necessary and even what the most war-hungry members of the Regime advocated for.
The majority of this money is allocated to local forces, indicating that widespread protest and dissent in Iran is more concerning to the Iranian Regime than any external threat.