Ahmadinejad, Chavez taunt US from Caracas
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez poked fun at the US for its worry about the possibility of Iranian nuclear weapons.
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Sadjapour calls that a "trap" that the United States and Israel "should be very careful about walking into."Skip to next paragraph
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Tensions are already high. In December, the US approved new sanctions on Iran’s Central Bank, the main conduit for Iranian oil reserves, and the European Union is laying the groundwork for an embargo on Iranian oil, which EU foreign ministers will discuss in late January, The Wall Street Journal reports. In response, Iran threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, one of the most important oil shipping routes in the world. It transported 20 percent of the world’s oil in 2011, according to Reuters.
In an interview with the Council on Foreign Relations, Michael Elleman, a senior fellow for regional security cooperation at the Institute for Strategic Studies, says that ballistic missiles may actually be a more pressing threat than nuclear weapons.
Since 2003, I don't know that there has been any evidence, at least in the public domain, of Iran taking measures to make a nuclear weapon. At least I have not seen any indication of that. But Iran certainly is making tremendous headway in developing a range of ballistic missiles that could threaten the cities throughout the Gulf and in Israel. That would include Turkey once this Sajjil- 2 , a two-stage system they are working on now reaches operational capacity.
That system has a range of approximately 2000 kilometers, though we're not really certain exactly what its maximum capacity is. Theoretically, it could threaten targets in the very southeastern corridor of Europe but there is no indication that they're developing that particular system to threaten Europe.”
"We say with clarity that we do not accept those sanctions," Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said. "We are a sovereign nation, we don't have dads punishing us and putting us in the corner for behaving badly. They [the US] should instead be sanctioning the US companies doing massive business in Tehran like Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola."
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