by Elad Benari
During an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press, Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US, said that although he believes that a military strike on Iran would have serious effects on the Middle East, the risk of Iran’s developing a nuclear weapon is also unacceptable.
“I think the military options have been on the table and remain on the table. It’s one of the options that the president has. Again, I hope we don’t get to that, but it’s an important option and it’s one that’s well understood,” said Mullen.
In response to Mullen’s words, Yadollah Javani, the deputy head of the elite Revolutionary Guards, said that Iran will make the Persian Gulf region unsafe for all if it is attacked by the US over its nuclear program.
Speaking to Iran’s IRNA news agency, Javani said: “If the Americans make the slightest mistake, the security of the region will be endangered. Security in the Persian Gulf should be for all or none. The Persian Gulf is a strategic region and if it is endangered they (Americans) will suffer losses and our response will be firm. We will defend ourselves if America or Israel resort to any hostile measures against our vital values.”
At the end of June, the US Senate voted to approve new, tougher sanctions on Iran. The new sanctions penalize companies that sell gasoline to Iran or that do business with the Revolutionary Guard Corp and are the most comprehensive ones to have been approved to date.
The US vote followed an approval earlier in June by the United Nations’ Security Council of a fourth round of sanctions against the Iran. In response to the sanctions, Iran threatened “reciprocal measures” against countries who voted in favor of the sanctions. These countries include China and Russia, both of whom have invested and assisted Iran with billions of dollars of investments in the country’s nuclear program, yet still voted in favor of sanctions after being assured by the US that their ability to trade with Iran would not be curtailed.
To date the sanctions appear to be working. According to a recent shipping document seen by a Reuters reporter, only three cargoes of gasoline reached Iran in July, while Iran usually requires 11 to 13 cargoes of gasoline a month during the summer months. The drop in imports was reported to be as a result of the sanctions which are causing ships carrying fuel to Iran to be diverted.