Iran warns of firm response if Israel acts against its oil shipments

Source: Iran warns of firm response if Israel acts against its oil shipments – Israel Hayom

Following PM Netanyahu’s warning that Israel’s navy could act against Iranian oil smuggling, Iran’s defense minister says such intervention would be considered “piracy” • Maritime experts say Iran has used a variety of measures to evade U.S. sanctions.

Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff // published on 13/03/2019
Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami 

Iran will respond firmly to any Israeli naval action against its oil shipments, Iran’s defense minister said on Wednesday, in comments that came a week after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Israeli navy could act against Iranian oil smuggling to evade U.S. sanctions.

Iran’s Minister of Defense Amir Hatami was quoted by state news agency IRNA as saying that Tehran had the military capabilities to confront any Israeli intervention, and said the international community would also not accept such action.

Hatami said such confrontation would be considered “piracy” and warned that “if it happens, we will firmly respond.”

“The Iranian armed forces certainly have the capabilities to protect the country’s shipping lines in the best way against any possible threat,” Hatami said.

According to maritime experts, Iran has used a variety of measures to evade sanctions, including changing the names of ships or flag registries, switching off location transponders on ships and conducting ship-to-ship transfers offshore and away from large trade hubs.

Iran’s navy has extended its reach in recent years, dispatching vessels to the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden. They intervened on Friday to repel pirates who attacked an Iranian oil tanker in the Gulf of Aden.

The Israeli navy, whose largest vessels are missile corvettes and a small submarine fleet, is mostly active in the Mediterranean and Red seas.

Iran has one of the world’s biggest tanker fleets in the world.

In November, U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook called Iranian vessels a “floating liability,” saying the U.S. sanctions would bar them from international insurance markets, making them a risk for ports and canals which allow them access.

Iranian officials have threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, a major oil shipping route in the Gulf, if the United States attempts to stop the Islamic republic’s oil exports.


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