Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has threatened to deploy Israeli warships to help tackle suspected Iranian efforts to continue export oil via maritime routes to skirt US sanctions.
“Iran is trying to circumvent the sanctions through covert oil smuggling over maritime routes, and to the extent that these attempts widen, the Navy will have a more important role in blocking these Iranian actions,” Netanyahu told graduates of the Israeli Naval Academy in Haifa on March 6, according to the Jerusalem Post.
“I call on the entire international community to stop Iran’s attempts to circumvent the sanctions by sea, and of course, by [other] means.”
Netanyahu stressed that Israeli sailors are well-trained and adept at carrying out sea missions against adversaries. However, he failed to explain how a relatively small Israeli naval force is going to block maritime routes used by Iran. Most likely, the Israeli Prime Minister expects that in the event of a naval confrontation with Iran somewhere in the Persian Gulf, the Israeli force will be directly backed up by the US Navy. This would explain where Israel is going to find resources to achieve a victory in this standoff.
In own turn, Iran has repeatedly warned that it could opt closing the Strait of Hormuz, a key strategic waterway through which roughly 20 percent of the world’s oil passes, if its maritime oil exports are threatened.
In 2017, Iran exported some $40.1 billion of crude oil, contributing to nearly 5 percent of total world supplies. The oil export is a key part of its economy.
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