Analysis

How Will Iran Respond?
The Iranian navy conducts naval war games in the Strait of Hormuz, January 1, 2012. (EBRAHIM NOROOZI/AFP/Getty Images)
February 2, 2012
| Security
| Middle East and North Africa
Summary
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Iran is striking back at countries that have imposed sanctions with military and economic threats and may soon be willing to launch attacks on its enemies in the West. European countries are likely to be the first targets of economic reprisals given the announcement by Tehran that it may immediately cut off oil exports to Europe ahead of the EU embargo taking effect. Several large multinational corporations, including British/Dutch oil company Royal Dutch Shell (London: RDSA) as well as Japanese and South Korean companies such as Mazda, Kia, and Samsung do significant business in Iran and could be expelled because of support of sanctions by their home countries. In this analysis, LIGNET looks at the range of retaliatory responses Iran may be considering this year due to its growing isolation.

This week, the seriousness of Iranian defiance of international pressure over its nuclear weapons program was brought into sharper focus. On Sunday, an Iranian parliament member said his country may respond to the EU oil embargo – scheduled to be gradually implemented over the next five months – by banning oil sales to Europe for five to 15 years. Iran reportedly will cut off of sales of oil to Europe next week. On Tuesday, the U.S. intelligence community warned in its annual worldwide threat report to Congress that Iranian leaders are now willing to launch attacks inside the United States, basing this assessment on the uncovered Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States in a restaurant in Georgetown, in Washington, D.C.

Below is LIGNET’s breakdown of possible retaliatory steps that Iran could take over the next year.

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