The chairman of the US Senate Armed Services Committee has put forward a proposal to impose an international naval blockade of Iran’s oil exports prior to any military strike against the country.
In a Friday interview with Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network, Democratic Senator Carl Levin said naval blockade of Iran is “one option that needs to be considered” in order to escalate pressure against the Islamic Republic.
He went on to say that alternative crude supplies should be ensured prior to any such naval siege, in an attempt to avert potential price hikes in the global crude market.
Iran is OPEC’s second oil producer and the world’s third major crude exporter.
Levin insisted that similar measures aimed at mounting pressure on Iran without engaging in a combat, including imposition of a “no-fly-zone,” could prove to be “very effective” and urged Tehran’s adversaries to explore such options.
The White House, however, has downplayed Levin’s remarks. A senior official at President Barack Obama’s administration says, "Our focus remains on a diplomatic solution, as we believe diplomacy coupled with strong pressure can achieve the long-term solution we seek.”
The United States, Israel and some of their allies accuse Tehran of pursuing military objectives in its nuclear energy program.
The US and the EU have used the pretext to impose international and unilateral sanctions against Iran, while Washington and Tel Aviv have issued threats of a military strike against Iran’s nuclear installations.
Iran has repeatedly refuted the Western allegations regarding its nuclear energy program, arguing that as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, it is entitled to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
Tehran has promised a crushing response to any military strike against the country, warning that any such measure could result in a war that would spread beyond the Middle East.