Iran accused of plotting Gulf oil spill to punish West for sanctions by poisoning Gulf

 

A top-secret Iranian plan to cause a deliberate and massive oil-tanker spill at the entrance to the Persian Gulf has been leaked to Western intelligence agencies.

The plan, codenamed "Dirty Water" and first reported in the German news magazine Der Spiegel, was reportedly intended to "punish" the West for imposing sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear programme.

The idea, said to have been drawn up by the leader of Iran's hardline Revolutionary Guards, General Mohammad Ali Jafari, was to wreck or sabotage an oil tanker in the Straits of Hormuz – the narrow seaway between Iran and Oman which is used by more than a third of the world's oil tankers to enter the Persian Gulf.

An oil spill from such a large vessel would cause an environmental disaster in one of the busiest international waterways, and force at least the temporary and hugely costly closure of the Persian Gulf to shipping, according to details published by Der Spiegel.

Western intelligence sources were quoted as saying the proposal was meant to "punish" hostile governments for placing sanctions on the regime of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the belief that Tehran is trying to build nuclear weapons. Israel has threatened to attack Iranian nuclear installations before any such device is created, while the West's sanctions have largely been seen as attempt to mollify the Israelis. Iran insists that its nuclear ambitions are peaceful.

Der Spiegel's report points out that an environmental clean-up would be possible only with technical support from Iran. As a result, Western nations "could be forced to relax sanctions against Iran or drop them altogether". General Jafari helped to lead the revolution which overthrew the Shah of Iran and brought Ayatollah Khomeini to power in 1979. He was among student protesters who stormed the US embassy in Tehran that year. He has commanded the fiercely anti-Western Revolutionary Guards, or Pasadaran, since 2007.

The 55-year-old is known for advocating extreme responses to threats against Iran. In 2009, he declared that Tehran would launch a rocket attack against Israel's Dimona nuclear facility if Israel attacked Iranian atomic plants. Although not all of the general's colleagues share his radical views, 13 of the Iranian regime's 21 ministers have undergone Pasadaran training.

General Jafari is reported to have drawn up the sabotage plan together with Admiral Ali Fadawi, another leader of the Revolutionary Guards. Der Spiegel quoted Western intelligence sources as saying that the plot was a clear sign that the Iranian government was frustrated and that Western sanctions were hurting the regime more than it was prepared to admit.

In a recent interview, Iran's Foreign Minister, Akbar Salehi, said the sanctions, which have targeted the oil and banking sectors, had merely caused "some inconveniences".

However, half of the Iranian economy is dependent on oil exports and since the imposition of sanctions in July last year, its overseas sales of crude have dwindled from 2.4 million barrels a year to just under one million. In recent weeks, soaring inflation has led to street protests in major Iranian cities.

Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
Sport
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Voices
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Travel
travel
News
Robyn Lawley
people
News
people
News
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmThe film is surprisingly witty, but could do with taking itself more seriously, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
people
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Life and Style
lifeDon't get caught up on climaxing
Life and Style
tech
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Data Analytics Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client who are a leading organisation...

1st line call logger/ User access administrator

£9 Per Hour: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Warrington a...

Shine Night Walk 2014 - 'On the night' volunteer roles

Unpaid Voluntary Work : Cancer Research UK: We need motivational volunteers to...

Accounts Assistant (Accounts Payable & Accounts Receivable)

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Accounts Assistant (Accounts Payable...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star