From Germany comes a rather alarming rumor, courtesy of the weekly Der Spiegel, claiming that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards are aiming for environmental havoc in the Strait of Hormuz via a blockage of seaborne oil exports. Their goal: to force international cave-ins on Tehran’s economic sanctions.
According to Der Spiegel, Md. Ali Jafari, leader of the Revolutionary Guards, hatched the plan known as “Muddy Water” (one more letter and it’d be a regular blues concert), which calls Iranian forces to intentionally wreck a tanker on the rocks in the Strait.
The action would cause a major oil spill requiring immediate international attention. It sounds like a James Bond film, but if true, there could be very serious consequences.
“The aim is to block shipping temporarily through the contamination, to ‘punish’ adjacent Arab states that are hostile to Iran and to force the West to take part in a large-scale cleanup of the waters – and possibly thereby a suspension of sanctions against Tehran,” Spiegel said.
Spiegel did not cite any sources other than to state that Western intelligence agencies were looking into the matter.
Iran’s economy is, of course, under great pressure due to Western sanctions intended to convince the nation to abandon its nuclear ambitions.
Roughly 40 percent of the world’s seaborne oil passes through the Strait of Hormuz. Threatening to disrupt that flow is Iran’s favorite ploy. In this case, however, carrying out the threat would mean huge losses to the world’s oil supply, a rise in prices, and heavy environmental costs.