‘Iran’s threats aimed at politicians, not generals’

Reports from Iran suggest a fierce reaction to the EU’s move to impose an embargo on Iran’s crude exports. But analyst Richard Heydarian wonders if the Iranian Defense Ministry will be able to back up threats to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz.

As the statement on closing the Strait came from an Iranian lawmaker, we have to wait for what the Iranian Defense Ministry has to say about this,” foreign affairs analyst Richard J. Heydarian told RT. “In military terms, Iran has a conventional capability to close the Strait of Hormuz, but for a very limited period of time.

Iran perceives it as a “legitimate military threat in response to what they see as a total siege of the Iranian economy.” Still the analyst is sure Iran’s message is political; this is in an attempt to draw a red line rather than declare a military strategy. With its economy strained and its currency devaluing, Tehran cannot risk losing such partners as China, India or Turkey, who would also be affected by the move.

Asia Times correspondent Pepe Escobar also told RT that the latest round of EU sanctions is an act of economic war. But as Iran gears up to meet with the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the security council plus Germany) in Istanbul, hardliners in Tehran will probably back off from their threat to close down the strait.

“They won’t [close the Strait of Hormuz], but this is something that they need to say in terms of their internal public opinion. They’re being pressured all the time by the Americans and the Europeans – and 80 million Iranians are asking, ‘what is our government doing to defend us'?And in fact, we have the right to develop a peaceful nuclear program,’" he said.

"There is no evidence anywhere by the IAEA, by national intelligence estimates in the United States that they are developing a nuclear weapon. So the government has to talk to the Europeans, has to talk to the Americans, but at the same time to talk to their own public.  But from now until July 1st, things are going to be really, really hot.”

Watch RT's full interview with Pepe Escobar