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It is natural for certain nations to display its military might or capacity to retaliate when facing, or believing itself to be facing, opponents. So is the relations between Iran and the US; no formal diplomatic relations exists between the two governments but continuous animosity towards the opposing power’s military advancement has fraught the informal relation.
Recently, there has been a war of words and perilous threats between these countries amid increasing threat launched by international community to wage an economic war against Iran. Iranian officials warned that in the wake of further sanctions, it will close down the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow but strategic waterway near Iran.
Iran threw more fuel on the fire when it successfully test-fired a long range missile during a naval exercise on December 24. The very public 10-day naval exercise in the Strait of Hormuz was named “Velayat90”. There has been intensified ambiguity over Iran’s intentions of developing nuclear technology in the past several years, and when the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) recently presented a report, it strengthened the case against Iran regarding those intentions.
For a long time, this subject has been a matter of disengagement between Iran, IAEA and the international community at large and damaged the composure and compassion among the parties involved.
Economic sanctions should be considered a new type of ammunition today; at the outset of broken diplomacy and strained relations, it has been increasingly significant to rely on a blow to trade and financial markets to cause economic devastation in the enemy country.
In this case, diplomatic relations between US and Iran has been suspended for the last 3 decades but during the recent Bush administration, US exports took a hike from $8.3M in 2001 to $683.2M by 2008. US Census Bureau showed that this figure fell by 50% after President Barack Obama came to office.
Meanwhile, the United Nations ratified at least four rounds of sanctions during the period of four years from 2006 to 2010 in reaction to Iran’s failure to stop uranium enrichment and cooperate with IAEA. And the EU has put in place restrictions on trade and assets and imposed a ban on export to Iran of key technology equipment.
On the surface, it looks feasible to say that sanctions will have a ravaging impact similar to that of military action, since economic war will slowly ruin the internal markets of the country and its ability to compete internationally.
However, Iran seems to persist in keeping up appearance, recently wrapping up ten days of naval drill near the Strait, which showed off helicopters, missile-launching frigates, hovercraft and submarines. The drill was in a 2000 KM stretch of water beyond the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of Persian Gulf and as well as in some parts of Indian Ocean.