The Scotsman – Oct 16, 2012
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards chief has drafted a plan to cause an environmental disaster in the Strait of Hormuz to block seaborne oil exports with the goal of removing economic sanctions imposed on Tehran, the German weekly Der Spiegel has said.
The German news magazine said Mohammad Ali Jafari’s plan, codenamed “Muddy Water”, envisages the Iranians steering a tanker onto the rocks in the Strait, the world’s most important oil shipping waterway.
The magazine said: “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 clean-up of the waters.
“A decontamination would only be possible with technical help from the Iranian authorities and for this the embargo would have to be at least temporarily lifted. Iranian firms, some of them owned by the Revolutionary Guards, could even profit from the rescue operations.”
Der Spiegel gave no source for its report, but said Western intelligence services were studying the plan, which it said now required only the approval of Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for it to be put into effect.
Iran’s economy is buckling under the weight of Western sanctions – expanded again yesterday by the European Union – aimed at forcing the country to suspend its nuclear programme and negotiate seriously to resolve concerns that it is covertly trying to develop atom bombs, a charge Iran denies.
About 40 per cent of the world’s seaborne oil exports pass out of the Gulf via the Strait of Hormuz. Iran has previously threatened to disrupt Gulf oil shipping if Israel or the United States carries out any attacks on its nuclear facilities.