Iran threatens "harm & pain" to U.S. if UN imposes sanctions

  1. Should we worry about this? I mean, what can Iran do, besides not selling the U.S. oil? And if they do that, so what? They have more oil than they need, it’s worth money, they have to sell it to somebody. And oil is fungible – every barrel that goes on the world market affects demand/price. So what difference does it make to whom they sell it?

Or is there something worse they could do?

  1. If the answer to (1) is yes – what do we do now?

Nuke the entire country from orbit? Its the only way to be sure…


If they have threatened harm and pain then this should increase the reasons to impose sanctions.
We need to prepare for the threat and let Tehran understand we are not opposed to an air only war of retaliation if they do anything.
We may not want to and IMO should not invade but we can bomb them for an extended period without and worries.

Jim {We don’t negotiate with Terrorist}

I don’t believe we get any oil from Iran.

A lot goes to Japan/Europe.

I don’t know if you can even determine that. Oil is a commodity and you might as well think of all the exporters dumping into one big pot, and all the importers pulling it from that pot. If Iran doesn’t sell oil to us directly, they probably do so thru a broker somewhere.

As for the OP, this is the strange language of diplomacy, such as it is. It’s like a Balanese shadow-puppet play. Do not watch the actors or the puppets, watch the shadows.

What John Mace said but also do not forget they can probably close the Strait of Hormuz through which a great deal of oil flows. Even if Iran could not retaliate directly against us the US will not be well liked when Japan and Europe start feeling the pinch.

From the above link

Perhaps I’ve misunderstood you. Are you saying that if Iran reduce the amount of oil they sell, you’ll see that as a threat to the US and that will justify bombing them?

I think the question is not so much what they can do to YOU, as you so elegantly phrased it* (suffice to say that anything bad Iran could do to U.S. would likely either be universal, i.e. muckin’ with the oil supply, or could be targeted at any country in the Western world, i.e. state-sponsored terrorism), but why they should want to.

Look at what Iran has done recently. Made some outrageous statements and (potentially) started on the long and rocky road to possessing nuclear weapon capability (if they are lucky, in five years, at tremendous costs, if they want to make weapons and have the required technology). And what did it gain them (or, more accurately, the current Iranian president): International recognition, both positive and negative, some concilatory approaches by Russia, and popular support at home. In other words, they have learnt that overblown political statements=treat.

But what if they were to actually start rocking the oil boat, or sponsoring terrorism? The whole world, both Western and Arab, would be on them like a ton of bricks. OPEC has no desire to see the currently very-favourable oil market damaged, and terrorism would make them TRUE international pariahs plus give an iron-cast excuse for military intervention. Even if they could ride these waves, what would Iran gain from this? The leaders of Iran may be bigoted, or even stupid, but they are not insane. Meanwhile, their domestic mismanagement has already eroded the support the current adminsitration gained during the last election. The only sure way to provoke Iran into stupid and reckless acts now would be- you guessed it, massive foreign over-reaction. Such as invasion.

In conclusion? Iran can do little. And what they can do, they won’t. But any attempt to stop them doing these things? Might cause them to consider them.

*I am reminded of a joke. The lone ranger is surrounded by indians, with no chance of escape. He turn to Tonto, and says: “Well, Tonto, looks like we’re done for.” Tonto replies: “What do you mean WE, white man?”

Iran already is a huge sponsor of terrorism.

As for OPEC I think the other countries would be thrilled if Iran shut off their spigots. It would make the oil in other places even more valuable and pad their pockets nicely. They’d sit back and proclaim how evil America is all the while laughing on the way to the bank.

Yes, but so far this has taken the form mainly of funding local terrorism, confined to the Middle East. I’m NOT saying that’s OK, I’m simply saying it won’t provoke the same international reaction as another 9/11, 7/7 or… what date did the Madrid Bombings happen on?

As for the OPEC point, fair play. I should have said that Iran can’t AFFORD to stop the oil supply. There are no exact figures, but I have seen figures in several newspapers suggesting as much as 40% of the country’s GDP comes from oil- including the funding for the vital social security program that supports the very underemployed youths who put the government in power. To cut off oil supplies would hurt Iran a great deal more than it would hurt the US, given the measures America (and most other powers) took to secure their oil supply post-1976.

I maintain my believe that this is diplomatic posturing.

No and hell no.
I am guilty of reading the headline and not the content. :smack:

I see Iran threatens “harm & pain” to U.S. if UN imposes sanctions and I reacted in a strongly Hawkish manner. If they were threatening to increase terrorist activities against the US than I would stand by my statement, but as I am a complete idiot in this case I withdraw it.


I don’t think this is a valid concern. It’s also exactly what, IMO, Iran wants the US to think. It would take an incredible amount of cynicism to think Europe and Japan would be upset with the US if Iran decides to mess with world oil supplies.

And if Iran were to start trying to block any international waters that are used for distribution, through blockades or terrorism, the rest of the world being negatively affected by it wouldn’t be so vocal in diplomatic resolutions. The waters would be opened up and Iran dealt with after that.

Iran doesn’t have much more than oil to negotiate with. And it’s been all but proven that there aren’t many countries willing to negotiate with Tehran anymore. The main reason, of course, is that Tehran wants nuclear bargaining chips rather than oil.

Well, in that case wouldn’t the sanctions likely be of oil ? And in that case, couldn’t the government easily divert blame onto us ?

Even if it’s not, I think it’s unlikely the Iranians ( government or people ) are going to want to give up nuclear research with America on the border. If the world imposes sanctions, I expect the message the Iranians get will be that invasion is imminent, and we don’t want them arming themselves.

you are eliding a few events: in this hjypothetical, he straits are closed after ths US has undertaeen another of its outlaw advantures (because we could not get security council approval, cause those same states have refused to go along with sanctions.)

Sadly, that would have made as much sense if it was coherent.

Outlaw adventure?

In this case Iran has broken its treaty obligations it signed under the NPT.

Frankly I think the defacto stance should be ANY country that gets nuclear energy aid by agreeing to IAEA oversight under the NPT shoud have all facilities bombed if they break that treaty. No waiting, no hand wringing, no real politiks. You kick out your IAEA inspectors that you AGREED to and break the seals on nuclear storage facilities expect a Tomahawk to be visiting very soon. Indeed, every vestige of the nuclear program should be bombed continually till gone.

This should just be automatic. Any country seeking aid in developing a nuclear energy program either agrees to that or gets no aid and can try to build it themselves.

Except that no country would sign that treaty under those terms.

Does anyone know if the NPT requires signatories to buy any and all reactor material from the established nuclear powers? That would seem like a good way to avoid these issues in the first place. Of course, that would end up being a nice little self-serving treaty for the US, Russia, China, etc.

Fine. It seems to me anyone not willing to sign under those terms may want to simply bootstrap themselves into a nuclear program and then ignore their treaty obligation when it becomes inconvenient because they want a weapons program.

If at some point a country wants to withdraw from the treaty in a peaceful manner then they should be allowed to do so as long as all nuclear material provided for energy (and waste from energy production) is removed as well as any refining capacity disabled (if for some reason they were manufacturing the fuel there).

No, the treaty doesn’t forbid domestic fuel creation by signitories. That’s why the Iranians are not being refered to the UNSC not for enriching uranium (which is permitted under the NPT) but for doing it in secret.

This is what the Iranians mean when they say they have the “right” to enrichment, the NPT does allow signatories to produce thier own fuel.

Do you know how many NPT signatories have uranium enrichment programs in place? I wonder how much of an outlier Iran is. As much as I don’t want them to get nukes, I have to say I understand why they’d want them.