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"a killing spree of staggering proportions"
January 22, 2012 8:36 PM   Subscribe

Amnesty International believes that Iran has executed at least 600 people in 2011 in what it calls "a killing spree of staggering proportions".

Activists believe the E.U.'s aid to Iran under the UN Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has been used during crackdowns on dissidents and minorities because such aid consists of police and light military equipment. And almost 500 executions were for alleged drug offenses with members of marginalized groups making up the disproportionate majority of such death sentences.

There has also been an effort by the regime to include convictions for other morality type crimes. Last week, Iranian born Canadian resident Saeed Malekpour's death sentenced for "acting against the national security, insulting and desecrating the principles of Islam, and agitating the public mind" was recently confirmed. There is more on Saeed Malekpour's case on iranhumanrights.org, united4iran.org, etc., apparently he wrote photo uploading software that porn sites later used.

Also, Iranian authorities have been arresting lawyers like Nasrin Sotoudeh who spoke out against applying the death penalty to minors.

As a tech aside, 31 year old Indonesian named Alexander Aan is facing five years in prison for a ‘God does not exist’ Facebook post
posted by jeffburdges (67 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Do you have any links for the "Activists believe..." graf? I'd be very interested to read them...
posted by docgonzo at 8:40 PM on January 22, 2012


At the risk of sounding like I'm trying to make a point, I'd be kind of curious to see what the stats look like in the US, especially for things like drug-related imprisonment and executions as regard visible minorities.

I have a sinking feeling, though, that the answer to that would sound like I was trying to make a point.
posted by DoctorFedora at 8:43 PM on January 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


According to the link, DoctorFedora, “The [Iranian] authorities acknowledged 252 executions, but there were credible reports of more than 300 other executions”. According to Wikipedia, the US executed 46 people in 2010. The population of the US is roughly four times that of Iran (!! I thought the ratio would be larger), so per capita, Iran's officially-acknowledged execution rate is 23x that of the US.
posted by hattifattener at 8:53 PM on January 22, 2012 [7 favorites]


I have a sinking feeling, though, that the answer to that would sound like I was trying to make a point.

I'm sure that the numbers are different, but it is a point that needs to be made.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 8:54 PM on January 22, 2012


43 people were executed in the US in 2011; here are their names and some other stats on them. Suffice it to say that 43 out of whatever the population of the US is is vastly smaller than 600 out of whatever the population of Iran is.

It might still be far too many, if one is against the death penalty or disagrees with these particular executions. The point, I guess, is that even if you're a dyed-in-the-wool supporter of the death penalty who believes that every last one of those 43 should have been executed, the stuff going on in Iran is still quite egregious.

Thanks for the fantastic post, jeffburdges.
posted by koeselitz at 8:55 PM on January 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


Wow, I'm actually kind of impressed and pleased that the US's execution rate is so comparatively low. Given imprisonment stats, I expected executions to be much more prevalent.

Carry on!
posted by DoctorFedora at 8:56 PM on January 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


China: 5,000 executions/1,338,299,500 population = 4×10-6
Iran: 600 executions/73,973,630 population = 8×10-6

So Iran has twice the execution rate of China.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:01 PM on January 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


I paraphrased the Guardian, docgonzo, but they cited Fazel Hawramy on Kurdishblogger.com who doesn't uses tags or internal linking well. You could start here :
Amnesty International report amplifies kurdishblogger.com campaign

I'd argue the west's war on drugs plays a significant role here already, DoctorFedora. Afaik, it isn't absolutely clear that Iranian authorities aren't pulling a Mexico here, i.e. Europe has been buying dead bodies. Ain't exactly the Mexican situation of course but money, corruption, prejudice, and repression interacting.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:01 PM on January 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've got friends who moved to Tehran with their kids for a few years. They seem to be having a good time.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:22 PM on January 22, 2012


Toronto-area man faces death in Iran prison
posted by kmz at 9:28 PM on January 22, 2012


You know, I think it's probably not very helpful to human rights campaigners in Iran to associate the cause of human rights with hatred of Islam.
posted by craichead at 9:44 PM on January 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think you are mistaken. It is when the justification for the execution of a computer programmer is ""acting against the national security, insulting and desecrating the principles of Islam" because he wrote some software which some other people used to upload pornography.
posted by smcameron at 9:47 PM on January 22, 2012


["fuck Islam" flamebait deleted]
posted by taz at 9:52 PM on January 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


FPP: Iran has executed at least 600 people in 2011

Big deal. How many of those were execution by drone? The United States has executed at least 378 (and as many as 536) people in 2011 in drone attacks.

How about them apples? Don't they register on your shock and outrage meter?

Please STFU with all of this Drudgereport, war-mongering, nonsense about Iran. Or at least make it "fair and balanced."
posted by three blind mice at 10:02 PM on January 22, 2012 [14 favorites]


Personally, I think both drone attacks and executing people over "morality crimes" are bad. Same for the UNODC and all other "War on Drugs" organizations, too.

Fair and balanced: done and done.
posted by vorfeed at 10:06 PM on January 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


I guess these don't count as executions: About 9,500 people nationally were killed by police during the years 1980 to 2005–an average of nearly one fatal shooting per day.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:09 PM on January 22, 2012 [8 favorites]


I'm afraid we passed you about 30 min ago, three blind mine. We're trying to discuss the killings in Iran that they claim result form their war on drugs, and perhaps partially do, but obviously include many political dissidents as well.

There are undoubtably numerous premeditated murders hidden among those 9500 U.S. police killings, furiousxgeorge. I'd imagine a number even involve a police force's chain of command before the fact. And certainly many involve a criminal conspiracy by the chain of command after the fact, i.e. cover ups protecting an officer who committed murder. Yet, those are overall probably much less targeted than "executions" per se. I might feel differently about that if I were African American, I suppose. <shrug>

posted by jeffburdges at 10:22 PM on January 22, 2012


I guess these don't count as executions: About 9,500 people nationally were killed by police during the years 1980 to 2005–an average of nearly one fatal shooting per day.

We're not counting the basij killings in the Iran total either, to be fair. It's talking about judicial capital punishment, not extrajudicial LEO/paramilitary brutality.
posted by jaduncan at 10:23 PM on January 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


[falameufilho (and everyone) please make an effort with comments; just sniping at other commenters will only derail into yet anther personality-driven thread all about two or three people. ]
posted by taz at 10:34 PM on January 22, 2012


Okay, then.

Hey, everyone: moral outrage is not a finite resource.
posted by joe lisboa at 10:42 PM on January 22, 2012 [7 favorites]


Well that settles it, we have to invade them now surely?
posted by Meatbomb at 10:43 PM on January 22, 2012


Meatbomb, do you think that invasion in order to impose a regime change would be immoral in itself, or do you think it is only wrong because it would be ineffective?
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:46 PM on January 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've got friends who moved to Tehran with their kids for a few years. They seem to be having a good time.

...
posted by joe lisboa at 11:02 PM on January 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Meatbomb, do you think that invasion in order to impose a regime change would be immoral in itself, or do you think it is only wrong because it would be ineffective?

I'm not Meatbomb but I'm gonna go with immoral in and of itself and so not worth the cost that the ineffectiveness would add an immorality cherry on top of the already immoral ice cream sundae.
posted by Justinian at 11:04 PM on January 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


or do you think it is only wrong because it would be ineffective?

Ineffective doesn't really cover it. It would result in a economic and butchers bill the like of which has not been known for a long time. Iran aren't military amateurs, bought lots of kit off Russia and China, and have now had a decade of experience running a behind-enemy-lines insurgency in Iraq (which would doubtlessly also non-coincidentally flare up, as would Lebanon). Oil prices would go through the roof.

Let's say that the invasion has worked, the religious have not reacted by fighting to the death against an enemy they have been raised since birth to hate, and the US has won. At that point, all lasting regime change requires is attempting to police a state with around 3 times the area, 2.5 times the amount of people as Iraq, and no really big religious minorities (only 9% Sunni, after all) to play against the religious power structure or provide useful allies (a la Kurdistan). Now, aside from that, one is faced with the fact that the regime is theocratic, and historically attempts to remove an entire set of religious officials have not gone well in insurgency terms.

But yeah, setting all that aside, let's stick with ineffective.
posted by jaduncan at 11:34 PM on January 22, 2012


I read all this and what I get from it is that the U.S. is going to go to war with Iran fairly soon.
posted by stinkycheese at 2:25 AM on January 23, 2012


Why do we give €9.5m aid to Iran anyway? When did somebody think that was a good idea?
posted by Jehan at 3:49 AM on January 23, 2012


Jehan, it's for the war on drugs, totally justified, honest!
Opium from Afghanistan, where production resumed with the overthrow of the talibans.. Eh.
posted by vivelame at 4:06 AM on January 23, 2012


Bloomberg News: Europe Will Ban Iran Oil Imports from July
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:35 AM on January 23, 2012


Big deal. How many of those were execution by drone?

What you are doing here is making language useless.
posted by eriko at 5:53 AM on January 23, 2012 [10 favorites]


Yes, let's invade. We have god on our side, and our culture is superior.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:01 AM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Joe in Australia, a lot of reasons I am very against this one. No one reason definitive, but in aggregate adds up to "very wrong".

-it isn't just one decadent guy, this is an oligarchy with some level of popular support
-it would almost certainly be a clusterfuck
-the Neocons think it is a great idea, given their track record last 20 years that counts massively against the idea
-no sustained local opposition
-nobody inside is asking us to do it

As you know I was pro-Libya and would also be pro-Syria, given broad international support and contribution to the effort.

Iran would be OK with me if there was an ongoing popular uprising that was able to sustain itself and was specifically requesting Western intervention.

But as it stands now, this is just US and Israel dick waving, and worried that once Iran has the bomb they will no longer have monopoly of force in the region. They might actually have to negotiate and compromise...
posted by Meatbomb at 7:26 AM on January 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yes, let's invade. We have god on our side, and our culture is superior.

How is this any different from the "hurf-durf-Islam" comments?
posted by rosswald at 7:42 AM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was being sarcastic.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:46 AM on January 23, 2012


How is this any different from the "hurf-durf-Islam" comments?

Wow, just how tone-deaf are you?

How many of those were execution by drone?

I like Metafilter. It reminds me, when I've spent too much time around people whose moral compass works, that there are people who view the targeted killing of terrorists who are plotting attacks on civilians as the moral equivalent of executing drug dealers and political prisoners.
posted by Dasein at 8:04 AM on January 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


You forgot the part where drone attacks are responsible for "collateral damage": civilian deaths.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:12 AM on January 23, 2012


No, I didn't. Unintentional civilian casualties from precise drone strikes are in no way the moral equivalent of deliberate, indiscriminate slaughter of civilians. That's so obvious it shouldn't need to be stated.
posted by Dasein at 9:16 AM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm not even sure what you're talking about about.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:19 AM on January 23, 2012


The defense calls Bertrand Russell to defense the Indonesian who denies the existence of god. Existence requires causality and definition; yet it is blasphemy to suggest that God was created or limited. Thus God falls into the barbers paradox and shall be depicted with a beard. Furthermore the Latin root of Exist is from "Ex-" and Sistere (to stand). Since the holy books tell us that God sits in judgement, we know the God is not standing, thus God does not exist.
posted by humanfont at 9:20 AM on January 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


I find it chilling that armchair strategists can debate the pros and cons of invading or bombing Iran or whatever, but maybe it's just because I have children, and maybe it's just because I've had an opportunity to live in a different country where people look different and sometimes think differently.

I'm no pacifist, but I can't think of a reason to send my sons to war to kill or be killed. Sure, Libya seems to have been a successful model, but Libya isn't over yet, and we'll see if Gaddafi has been replaced by some asshole theocracy perfectly willing to use Western-supplied ordinance to shoot down a jetliner or something.

Sure, Iran may be executing folks, and that is bad, but I fail to see how carrier-based attack aircraft can solve that particular problem.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:31 AM on January 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


Wait...people think that Amnesty International is participating in a coordinated propaganda effort to gin up sentiment in favor of war with Iran? Seriously?
posted by yoink at 9:38 AM on January 23, 2012 [8 favorites]


Iran is isolated. The friends I mentioned upthread moved to Tehran from Canada to look after some family businesses, and start new ones. In a previous life, I actually was able to facilitate some international trade, even 3 years ago Iran was totally radioactive for Canadian companies, even though no formal trade embargo existed.

Fast forward to December 2012, and it is just about impossible to do any kind of business in Iran. This has huge ramifications for Iran's overseas emigre community, many of whom have real estate holdings (it's the only kind of investment that seems to work in Iran, since the currency devalues so fast) that they cannot liquidate.

Japan has been forced to stop using Iranian oil. The pressure is on. But what is the final diplomatic goal? Regime change using smart bombs?
posted by KokuRyu at 10:02 AM on January 23, 2012


Iran Urged to Negotiate as Europe Agrees on New Sanctions
posted by rosswald at 10:10 AM on January 23, 2012


Iran to continue nuke program despite new sanctions

No surprise. They do not believe that anyone should be allowed to dictate an energy roadmap to them. India took the same position when they were being urged to drop their nuclear program a few years back.
posted by zarq at 10:32 AM on January 23, 2012


CNN: A summary of sanctions against Iran.
posted by zarq at 10:42 AM on January 23, 2012


The funny thing is, North Korea is doing pretty much the same thing as Iran (including, likely murdering dissidents), yet the strategy is to engage North Korea, and even provide NK with nuclear technology, in hopes of engaging what is a de facto criminal narco state.

What makes Iran different? Sure, Iran could nuke Israel, but NK could (and would love to) nuke Japan. I'm not sure why engagement is supposed to work with one crazy regime, but not another.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:55 AM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm guessing that's because North Korea doesn't export anything that the EU (or the US) needs.
posted by zarq at 10:59 AM on January 23, 2012


After doing a quick internet search, I couldn't find any info about Iran's actual energy exports, although the country currently does not have enough refining capacity to meet its own energy needs (gasoline, etc), and seems to import refined energy products from India of all places.

As far as I know, the only ally Iran seems to have is India.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:07 AM on January 23, 2012


The funny thing is, North Korea is doing pretty much the same thing as Iran (including, likely murdering dissidents), yet the strategy is to engage North Korea, and even provide NK with nuclear technology, in hopes of engaging what is a de facto criminal narco state.

What makes Iran different? Sure, Iran could nuke Israel, but NK could (and would love to) nuke Japan. I'm not sure why engagement is supposed to work with one crazy regime, but not another.


There is actually quite an elaborate set of economic sanctions in place against North Korea. There's always a complex game of carrots and sticks in these kinds of negotiations. And North Korea has the handy advantage of having China's skirts to hide behind. The explicit goal of the current sanctions against Iran is to bring them to the negotiation table re their nuke program (i.e., "engagement"). If Iran were to choose to play nice over the nukes there would be a rapid escalation of these kinds of engagement strategies.

I don't see any evidence that anyone in the current administration wants war with Iran or is laying the groundwork for such a thing. I do think the possibility of escalation if Iran chooses to close the Strait of Hormuz is real and frightening, though.
posted by yoink at 11:08 AM on January 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


And, in addition to what others said above, the difference is that the DPRK and Iran are at completely different stages of nuclear acquisition. Hence the different strategies.
posted by rosswald at 11:12 AM on January 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Someone tell those slackers in Texas they have some catchin' up to do.
posted by MoonOrb at 1:09 PM on January 23, 2012


What makes Iran different? Sure, Iran could nuke Israel, but NK could (and would love to) nuke Japan. I'm not sure why engagement is supposed to work with one crazy regime, but not another.

Well, one difference is that in Iran, the big red button is far more likely to fall into the hands of religious fundamentalists for whom death is not a deterrent (and, in some cases, it's the goal). If I must have nuclear weapons in the hands of dictators and murderers, let it be those dictators and murderers who are interested in preserving their wealth and power more so than bringing death to the infidel.

Now, I'm sure Iran's ruling elite is not in any hurry to give up their own prosperous lifestyle, but in a theocratic environment, that can change quickly. This is also the reason why Pakistan's nukes are so scary.
posted by Behemoth at 1:18 PM on January 23, 2012


Unintentional civilian casualties from precise drone strikes are in no way the moral equivalent of deliberate, indiscriminate slaughter of civilians.

If you keep making 'precise' drone strikes, and they keep killing civilian mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters, it's not unintentional-- you've accepted that as a cost. Which, if that's your thing, whatever, but it's not mine, and I run 1/312,894,000th of the show around here.
posted by threeants at 4:22 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


>What makes Iran different? Sure, Iran could nuke Israel, but NK could (and would love to) nuke Japan. I'm not sure why engagement is supposed to work with one crazy regime, but not another.

Well, one difference is that in Iran, the big red button is far more likely to fall into the hands of religious fundamentalists for whom death is not a deterrent (and, in some cases, it's the goal).


This is one hell of an assumption to make.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:33 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


What makes Iran different? Sure, Iran could nuke Israel ...

The real issue with Iran is that they're a loose cannon in the middle of the world's chief oil-producing area, just as Iraq was before 2003.

It has been the USA's consistent policy to prevent anything that interferes with oil production and distribution or which would allow one oil producer to significantly affect the price of oil. Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990 to get control of its oil fields, and not-incidentally to increase the price of oil. The USA went to war (Gulf War 1: Operation Desert Storm) to restore the Kuwaiti monarchy and not-incidentally to keep oil supplies cheap and stable. When Saddam kept on threatening his neighbours ("I have territorial claims against you! Behold the might of my army and my airforce! I may or may not have weapons of mass destruction!") the USA resolved to remove him from power. We now know that Saddam's program was mostly smoke and mirrors, but it was a very real political threat. WMDs don't need to be real to be effective. When sanctions didn't work to remove Saddam from power they attacked Iraq again in 2003 (Gulf War 2: Operation Iraqi Freedom).

Now, Iran still has claims against Iraq. It dislikes and is disliked by the other gulf states. During the Iran-Iraq war it mined the oil shipping lanes, just as it is threatening to do now. It has previously attacked the USA and has been attacked by it. The only reason this wasn't considered a US-Iran war is that it is seen as an adjunct to the Iran-Iraq war: Iran was trying to blockade oil going to Iraq.

So look at the situation today. We know from Wikileaks that the other gulf states have been begging the USA to do something about Iran. It doesn't matter whether the Iranian WMD program is real, just as it didn't matter whether Saddam's was real. The gulf states can't live with the threat. Iran is threatening to blockade the Straits of Hormuz, just as it did before. It's even allying itself to Venezuala, a country that is not-coincidentally a major oil producer but which is well outside any geographical sphere of influence that Iran should care about.

The threats against Israel are merely a sideshow: the USA has never intervened directly on Israel's behalf and it probably never will. The real reason the USA is likely to attack Iran is that it would be contrary to US policy to let Iran threaten its oil-producing neighbours or control the Straits of Hormuz or otherwise have the capacity to significantly affect the price of oil.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:39 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is one hell of an assumption to make.

Yes, it's a huge assumption that extremists may get access to nuclear weapons in what is arguably the number one state sponsor of terrorism in the world today.
posted by Behemoth at 7:33 PM on January 23, 2012


Spain: Saudis to make up for loss of Iran oil
Saudi Arabia is just as interested as us that Iran does not continue its nuclear escalation," says Spanish FM.

posted by Joe in Australia at 9:44 PM on January 23, 2012


"The threats against Israel are merely a sideshow: the USA has never intervened directly on Israel's behalf and it probably never will. The real reason the USA is likely to attack Iran is that it would be contrary to US policy to let Iran threaten its oil-producing neighbours or control the Straits of Hormuz or otherwise have the capacity to significantly affect the price of oil."

I think you have it backwards, actually.

There is a pipeline nearing completion that will run through the UAE to the Arabian Sea, bypassing the straits.

Iran knows this and 'The West' knows this. The coming year is the last in which Iran will be able to threaten to close the strait, because very soon the threat will become almost irrelevant.

This is why the tensions are ratcheting up over there right now. If Iran is going to try to pull a stunt, this is their last chance. Once they lose the threat against strait, Iran's position becomes greatly weakened until they build [and test] a nuclear weapon.

So it is crunch time for Iran. That the sanctions are coming down hard just as this pipeline is nearing completion is no coincidence. In fact, you have a reversed scenario becoming a possibility, where Iran needs the strait to get their own oil out, but nobody else does, and some sort of NATOish group closes the strait to Iranian traffic as part of the ongoing sanctions.
posted by striatic at 10:49 PM on January 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Seen through that lens, the human rights abuses listed above suddenly make a bit more sense - or at least as much sense as such things can.

You're seeing a regime backed into a corner and frantically pulling cards from the deck, and just losing a lot of deck.

You've also got the 'Arab Spring' forces in nearby countries creating an internal threat. They've already had internal unrest. The Iranian government is in just a terrible position and i believe they are starting to act out of increasing desperation.

That innocent people are suffering as a consequence shouldn't be a surprise, and perhaps the countries imposing the sanctions should share in the culpability for applying this pressure but it is important to realize the reasons why 'The West' suddenly feels comfortable in applying this kind of pressure. It has a lot to do with oil, to be sure, but the United States isn't applying the pressure because they need to bully Iran into letting them have the oil - the US is applying pressure because Iran has decreasing control over the oil.
posted by striatic at 11:07 PM on January 23, 2012


Saeed Malekepour is the husband of a grad student from my school (University of Victoria), and we are tensely watching this case at my work (the grad students union).

When he was first thrown in jail it seemed there was some wavering on supporting him from the Canadian government as he is not a citizen of Canada (or at least that is how it seemed).

Recently, with the reversal of Malekepour's reprieve from the death sentence, Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird has spoken out against the death sentence for Melekepour.

If you, like me, think this case needs strong intervention from Canada since Melekepour is a landed immigrant here, and happen to be Canadian, please take a moment to let John Baird and PM Harper know you appreciate their taking a stand on this case and want them to do more.

bairdj@parl.gc.ca ... The Honourable John Baird
pm@pm.gc.ca ... Prime Minister Stephen Harper


Thanks!
posted by chapps at 11:15 PM on January 23, 2012


"Yes, it's a huge assumption that extremists may get access to nuclear weapons in what is arguably the number one state sponsor of terrorism in the world today."
Actually, Iran would be.. About n°2 or 3? n°1 being of course Pakistan, and 2 or 3 being the US of A.
posted by vivelame at 1:31 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Striatic, the pipeline can only carry 1.5 million barrels/day, less than 10% of the 17 million b/day that go through the gulf every day. And even if the pipeline could take ten times as much - why does that mean Iran needs nuclear weapons?
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:52 AM on January 24, 2012


There was an interesting deleted fpp about the CIA being accused of murdering of Iranian Scientists, btw.
posted by jeffburdges at 2:54 AM on January 24, 2012


"Striatic, the pipeline can only carry 1.5 million barrels/day, less than 10% of the 17 million b/day that go through the gulf every day. And even if the pipeline could take ten times as much - why does that mean Iran needs nuclear weapons?"

because it isn't the only pipeline providing excess capacity out of the region that can circumvent the strait, just the one that will compensate for the most necessary direct traffic through the strait. there is also work going into increasing the capacity of Iraqi pipelines north to Turkey. Global Strategic Reserves could maintain current consumption for about a year even if all 17 million barrels a day suddenly vanished, which it won't since much of it can be re-routed now and even more in the near future. This minimizes the impact of closing the strait to the United States and Europe while Iran suffers most, since almost all of their Oil exports also use the strait.

Iran, again, understands this. While the strait was once a strategic weak point for the United States, the tables are turning. Iran produces 4 million barrels a day and exports 2 million and pre. They are considering major pipelines circumventing the strait, but are lagging far behind the UAE's efforts to do the same. One proposed pipeline, the Neka-Jask, would deliver 1 million barrels a day [half their exports] to the Gulf of Oman, beyond the strait. Another proposed pipeline, which would be constructed with Indian support [India's role in all of this is very interesting] would run underwater from the Iranian Port of Chabahar to India - circumventing an uncooperative Pakistan. Chabahar's port was recently built up with help from India, and India is helping to link Chahabar into Iran's rail network.

Not sure how much of these proposals is legitimate, and how much of it is posturing to try to get Pakistan to sign on to an Iran - Pakistan - India pipeline, but either way Iran is looking to reduce its vulnerability in the strait just as much as the United States, Europe and other middle Eastern nations are... Problem is that pipelines are very expensive to construct and Iran is already running behind.

Take a look at the infrastructure changes in and around the straits beyond all the military toys on parade and you get a much better understanding of why those toys are on parade.

As for the nuclear weapon, with decreasing leverage over the oil supply there is always a threat of invasion and it isn't like the United States never invades middle eastern nations. Hardly an irrational fear. Possessing a Nuclear Weapon would mitigate that threat.
posted by striatic at 12:06 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Closing the Strait would be an act of war against several Gulf Nations including Saudi Arabia and Qatar who both have pretty capable air forces and would love an excuse to hit the Persians. The US and UK would play a big role too. Israel would use the chaos to after the nuclear facilities. It would be a suicidal move for the Iranian regime.
posted by humanfont at 4:42 PM on January 24, 2012


Attacking Iran would probably be suicidal for Israel; Hezbollah rules Southern Lebanon and it is effectively Iran's client state on the Mediterranean. Iran would undoubtedly be instructed to counterattack, and it's more than likely that Egypt would choose to do the same. On the other hand, many Israelis likely think that Hezbollah will attack them sooner or later anyway (because that is their official raison d'être) and Israel's position will not be improved by waiting.

There's a story about the Middle East - stop me if you've heard it before. A scorpion wanted to cross a stream during a flood. He spied a frog near the river's bank and asked him for a ride across. Just then an APC rode through the stream, crushing them into the mud. As they extricated themselves a platoon ran over them in the opposite direction. Broken and bruised they tried to struggle out of the morass and they were nearly free when a drone attacked, blowing them to smithereens.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:40 PM on January 24, 2012


Execution of web programmer in Iran may be imminent
posted by homunculus at 4:47 PM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


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