Israel, the U.S. and the Arab World
October 9, 2009
The Islamic regime in Tehran plans to slash the supply of subsided gasoline to the public by 45 percent and ration individual purchases to 55 liters per month, down from the 100 allowed at present.
This announcement Wednesday, Oct. 8, by Iranian oil minister Massoud Mirkazemi was Tehran's second step ahead of an expected showdown with the West over its nuclear program. Accusing the US of involvement in the disappearance of an important Iranian nuclear scientist was the first.
The government will have no difficulty in getting the measure through the tame Majlis (Iranian parliament).
Iran imports 40 percent of its gasoline needs because it is short of oil refineries. This shortage is sustained to boost the revenues of the Revolutionary Guards, which own a monopoly on gasoline imports. It has now become a strategic threat to the regime, curtailing fuel supplies for the military in the event of war and undermining Iran's ability to withstand severe sanctions.
Rationing may also provoke domestic unrest. Only 4.2 million liters of gasoline a day will be released, instead of the current 8 million. This will free up some 60,000 or so barrels a day for the Revolutionary Guards emergency stores. A much smaller cutback in 2007 caused serious riots in major cities; many gas stations and fuel depots were set on fire.
Earlier this week, Iran's foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki confronted Washington with a charge of US involvement in the disappearance of a nuclear scientist while on a pilgrimage to Mecca last May.
The Jerusalem Post
October 10, 2009
Israel & Region World Cleric Mojtaba Zolnour, who is Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's representative in the Guard, said that if a US or Israeli missile lands in Iran, Iranian missiles will hit Israel in retaliation.
"Should a single American or Zionist missile land in our country, before the dust settles, Iranian missiles will blow up the heart of Israel," Zolnour was quoted as saying by the state IRNA news agency.In March, Iran's deputy army chief made similar remarks, warning that his country will eliminate Israel if it attacks the Islamic republic.
"Should Israel take any action against Iran, we will eliminate Israel from the scene of the universe," Gen. Muhammad Reza Ashtiani said at the time in Teheran.Ashtiani claimed Israel was "very vulnerable" and dismissed allegations that Iran was worried about Israeli maneuvers.
"Due to its special conditions, Israel is very vulnerable in the region," he said. "The aggressors will face a crushing response."