In another saber-rattling episode Iran has just sent six warships into international waters. This follows the country test-firing a missile with a range of 1,200 miles. These incidences reflect Iran's continuing posture of defiance, experts say.
The recent action by Iran to send the warships into the Gulf of Aden and other international waters follows not only the missile test firing but also its sending two other warships on May 14. The announcement by Iran about its recent warships may or may not include those previously sent into the Gulf.
Like other countries Iran has faced the threat of Somali pirates. The country maintains that these ships will help preserve its territorial integrity in its southern waters as well as in other areas where they believe their territorial integrity may be threatened. Despite protestations of commerce as a reason for these ships, Iran has threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, which is the passage way for 40% of the world's oil. It made this threat to reflect how it would respond to any attack over its nuclear program. Its naval commander Admiral Habibollah Sayyari stated that this present move reflects the country's high military capability in confronting any foreign threats on the country's shores. In January pirates seized an Iranian cargo ship bound to Iran from Germany that was carrying 36,000 tons of wheat. In March another vessel was attacked by pirates. So Iran declares it protects its commerce while at the same time it demonstrates its military capabilities to the rest of the world.
Following the missile test, Iran declared that it had the power to literally send to hell any country that threatened Iran. This message is seen as a specific threat to the neighbors of Iran, because the missile is capable of striking Israel, parts of Europe and most Arab nations.
Photo by Daniella Zalcman
President of Iran at Columbia University.
This is not the first time that Iran has threatened to respond aggressively to anyone who supports Israel. Pres. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared in 2006 that Iran was prepared to respond militarily in the event it saw any problems related to Israel expansion or United States military involvements with Israel. Critics of Iran's military saber rattling have recommended everything from a first strike to diplomacy.
In the meantime reports indicate Pres. Barack Obama advised Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu not to precipitously attack Iran’s nuclear program. During a recent meeting between Obama and Netanyahu they were said to have agreed to share intelligence on Iran's nuclear program. All of this comes at a time when Iran appears to be escalating its military provocations as well as demonstrating its military strength in general with the use of warships sent into territorial waters that could interrupt the flow of oil and goods, which experts declare could be a threat to world security.