The US Department of Defence have deployed 15,000 troops to the Middle Eastern state of Kuwait as tensions with Iran escalate over US and EU sanctions in response to Iran’s defiance to halt its nuclear programme, which claimed to have produced its first nuclear fuel rod earlier this month. On Monday the EU passed a ban on Iranian oil exports following similar action by the US on Iran’s oil and Central Bank.
Iran have now threatened to blockade the Strait of Hormuz, which 35% of the World’s oil shipments pass through and have been carrying out a 10 day naval exercise and missile tests. The US have stationed two nuclear powered Supercarriers in the Persian Gulf. Combined with the deployment of 15,000 troops it seems that the US is preparing for a potential conflict with Iran on all fronts. General James Mattis, who heads US Central Command got approval at the end of 2011 to station the troops in Kuwait. General Mattis believes the deployment is necessary to keep Iran in check and to ensure America is prepared for any other threats in the Middle East.
[From US Navy Flickr]
Despite 80% of Iran’s GDP relying on oil exports Iran seem unfazed by the sanctions. “The West’s ineffective sanctions against the Islamic state are not a threat to us. They are opportunities and have already brought lots of benefits to the country,” Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi told the official IRNA news agency. With countries such as China, which relies on Iran for a third of its supply, rejecting sanctions and urging for negotiation over what Iran claims to be a peaceful nuclear research programme it seems that what happens in Iran and the Strait of Hormuz over the next couple of weeks will have a global impact.