The Conflict over Iran’s Nuclear Program Continues

On December 20th, I cataloged several incidents that occurred during the past two years, indicating that a covert war between the West (including Israel) and Iran was well underway. In recent days, several prominent American defense officials have begun signaling that the conflict is about to enter its next phase. This article updates the chain of events to include those that occurred between December 20th and December 29th.

  • January 2010: Iranian nuclear scientist killed by the explosion of a motorcycle fitted with a bomb
  • November 29, 2010: Iranian nuclear expert Majid Shahriari killed by an explosive charge placed in his car; Nuclear scientist, Fereydoun Abbasi survived a similar attack on the same day
  • May 16, 2011: Iranian-led assassination of Saudi diplomat in Pakistan
  • August 12, 2011: Explosion of a gas pipeline running from Iran to Turkey disrupts Iranian gas exports
  • October, 2011: FBI uncovered an Iranian plot to use explosives in a Washington, D.C. restaurants to assassinate the Saudi ambassador
  • November 12, 2011: Huge explosion leveled buildings at an Iranian military base 30 miles west of Tehran killing 17 government officials, including a founder of Iran’s ballistic missile program
  • November 17, 2011: IAEA passed a resolution expressing “deep and increasing concern” over Iran’s nuclear activities
  • November 24, 2011: Iran claimed to have arrested 12 CIA spies in a spy ring within Hizbullah
  • November 28, 2011: Explosion near Iran’s Isfahan uranium conversion facility; Several hours later, Hizbullah launched four 122-mm Katyusha rockets into Israel from southern Lebanon
  • November 29, 2011: Iranian protestors stormed the British embassy in Tehran
  • December 1, 2011: European Union tightened sanctions on Iran and discussed potential plans for a possible oil embargo; U.S. Senate passed a unanimous bill to give the president the power starting July 1 to bar foreign financial institutions that do business with Iran; Italy and several other EU governments recalled their ambassadors from Iran
  • December 2, 2011: Britain expelled Iranian diplomats from the country
  • December 4, 2011: Iran claimed to have shot down a U.S. drone
  • December 6, 2011: Former Saudi intelligence chief Prince Turki al-Faisal suggested that Saudi Arabia ought to consider “acquiring nuclear weapons to counter threats from Tehran, and from Israel.”
  • December 12, 2011: Iran’s intelligence chief met with senior Saudi officials in Riyadh for talks on security and political issues.
  • December 13, 2011: The United States blacklisted two senior officials it claims “were responsible for human-rights abuses in the crackdown on Iranian protesters after 2009 elections.”
  • December 14, 2011: The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agreed to maintain its output levels, “but in a sign of continuing tension among members, avoided a decision on how much oil each individual member would produce.”
  • December 18, 2011: Iranian American Amir Mirzai Hekmati appeared on Iranian television to say “he was sent to Iran to infiltrate the intelligence ministry by offering information from US forces in neighboring Afghanistan.”
  • December 19, 2011: Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta publicly admitted there have been efforts to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program. He also suggested that the Iranians have “reached a point where they can assemble a bomb in a year or potentially less,” and warned that if the Iranians proceed with developing a nuclear weapon, the United States will prevent them from doing so.
  • December 20, 2011: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey publicly admitted that American is “gathering intelligence against Iran in a variety of means,” and that he is leading the military planning for an attack against Iran’s nuclear weapons program in the event the president gives the military the order to do so. The United States also expanded sanctions against Iran’s shipping sector. Iran temporarily stopped imports from the United Arab Emirates because the UAE was allying with the West in its sanctions on Iran. Italy hosted a meeting of the United States and its allies to discuss further sanctions against Iran. Iran’s currency plunged to its lowest level ever against the dollar in panic selling. The six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) concluded its summit in Riyadh with a call for Iran to “to stop meddling in the internal affairs of the GCC group’s members.”
  • December 24, 2011: Iran began ten days of war games around the Strait of Hormuz.
  • December 27, 2011: Iran threatened to retaliate against a potential oil embargo by blocking all oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz, which constitute about twenty percent of the world’s oil supply.
  • December 28, 2011: The U.S. Navy warned Iran that it would “not tolerate any disruption of naval traffic through the Strait of Hormuz.”
  • December 29, 2011: Obama administration announced $29.4 billion weapons deal with Saudi Arabia that included the sale of 84 F-15SA fighter jets to the Royal Saudi Air Force. The aircraft carrier USS John C Stennis and the guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay passed through the Strait of Hormuz, and briefly entered the vicinity where the Iranians were conducting war games.

The heightened rhetoric and sanctions between the West and Iran point to further conflict in the Middle East. The political temperature is likely to rise over the next several months as the Obama Administration builds its case against a nuclear Iran, and further isolates the Iranian regime.

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About Sean Patrick Hazlett

Conservative clean energy crusader, national security hawk, financial analyst, engineer, and former military officer.
This entry was posted in Defense, Energy Security, Finance and Economics, International Security, Middle East, Nuclear Power, Nuclear proliferation, Policy, Politics, Terrorism, War and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Conflict over Iran’s Nuclear Program Continues

  1. samuelprime says:

    Sean, I think this is an excellent list (with sources) which I haven’t seen in news reports. I will certainly cite it when there is need to in future discussions on this issue. Thank you.

    I agree, the rhetoric is getting nastier, esp. with Iran’s threatening to shutdown the Strait of Hormuz if the US/West impose oil sanctions on Iran. The CS Monitor says that the latter seems ‘close’ – but I am not 100% sure. (I’ll wait and see.)

    • When the Iranians tried to attack crude oil carriers coming out of the Gulf in 1987, the United States Navy sunk their fleet. Given improvement in cruise missile technology and the like, Iran certainly has a stronger hand this time, but I am confident the ultimate result would be the same – the US Navy would sink the Iranian Navy.

  2. Pingback: The Conflict over Iran’s Nuclear Program Update | Reflections of a Rational Republican

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