Speaking today at the Senate Armed Services Committee, committee chairman Sen. Carl Levin (D – MI) urged the consideration of a complete naval blockade of Iran to prevent any oil from being exported from the country.
Levin’s comments were part of a discussion of ways to “pressure” Iran short of an overt attack, and while the blockade is technically “short of combat,” it would constitute an act of war under international law.
Levin says that the blockade would need to be preceded by the international community preparing “alternative oil supplies” to avoid a price increase, since Iran is the third larger exporter of petroleum on the planet. Exactly how this shortfall would be replaced isn’t clear.
The reason for the call is that while the European Union has imposed an “embargo” across their alliance on any oil imports (starting this summer), a number of other nations, particularly China and India, remain dependent on Iranian oil, and as such the efforts to stop all Iranian oil from flowing out of the country to “punish” the nation have been entirely unsuccessful, and have simply raised the price in Europe while giving China and India access to cheaper energy.
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