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The latest Stratfor naval update map shows that the USS John C. Stennis has now arrived in the waters just outside Iran, joining the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. Although there were already two aircraft carriers in the region prior to Stennis’ arrival, the USS Enterprise left for a scheduled port visit in Naples, Italy.
“In a week or so, shore leave will be over and CVN will be back to join everyone else, at which point the US will finally have three aircraft carriers just off the Iranian coastline ready to rumble,” reports Zero Hedge.
In response to this build-up, along with exercises involving the US, UK and Middle Eastern countries focused around clearing mines in the Strait of Hormuz, Iran has launched a Tareq-901 submarine and a Sahand destroyer into the Gulf from the port of Bandar Abbas.
“At the same time, as stated on (Ayatollah) Khamenei’s official website, the Supreme Leader was visiting the northern coastal city of Nowshahr to observe naval cadets practice planting mines, rescuing hijacked ships, destroying enemy ships, and rapid deployment via helicopters,” reports OilPrice.com.
Earlier this week, German newspaper Der Spiegel reported that Iran may also be planning to disrupt shipping lanes in the Strait, through which around 40 per cent of the world’s oil passes, by intentionally causing a massive oil spill.
“The goal of the plan seems to be that of contaminating the strait so as to temporarily close the important shipping route for international oil tankers, thereby “punishing” the Arab countries that are hostile to Iran and forcing the West to join Iran in a large-scale cleanup operation — one that might require the temporary suspension of sanctions against Tehran,” states the report.
Iran later denied the claims, stating they illustrated how, “Western nations have been brought low and have resorted to making any allegation against us.”
It seems abundantly clear that if there is to be an “October surprise” which will decide the US presidential election one way or the other, it will involve Iran and it will happen within the next two weeks.
The likelihood of such an incident involving Iran was raised by an ABC News piece earlier this month which speculated that something could “occur in the days before the election” to swing the outcome and that it would probably involve Iran in one way or another, be it an attack on US interests or Obama or Romney cutting a deal with Tehran.
Last month, lobbyist Patrick Clawson stoked controversy when he urged the United States to stage or provoke an attack in order to create a manufactured casus belli for striking Iran.