IRAN-IRAQ: INCREASING DANGER TO PERSIAN GULF SHIPPING

Created: 5/9/1987

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

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ked Wednesday In'

The danger In tho poralan GuH to 'marttlmo trado, Inol SoWef flag ahlpa, and to oil taciiiiloa la growing

Th* Soviet merchant ship tysn Korc

th* lower Persian Ou "

reports say that Iran conauciea tne attack end lhat m* Soviet ship le being repaired in Ad Dam mam. According to sources of varying reliability, this week Iran stso attacked two tsnkers with smart boats that fired rocket-or opoftod grenadaa,hird wss attacked by sn Iranian frlgste thatariant of the_See>Hler antiship mlaslle but failed to hit the

Iraqi warplanes struck Irsn's Ssssan offshore oilfield Wednesdey. according to shipping sources. Fears thai Iran wO retallete by attacking Abu Dhabi'a nearby Abu al Bukfusn oimOld have FrancaHthdmwxaalrkate worki

apparent kenian decision tooviet merchant tip probably was made to underscore Tehran's dlssstlsfsclkon vrlth the flow of Soviet arms to Iraq through Kuwait. Recently iran'e rhetoric haa become Increasingly harsh; Tehran publicly criticized the USSR on Thursday ss the "mainf arms and equipment to Iraq The attack was also probably Intended to back up Tehran's warnings to the Gulf Arab slates, psrtlcularjvKuwali. lhat superpower protection does not make them immur.od

The Soviets probably will protest strongly and may call for an International conference to end the war. They may also increase their naval presence In the Gulf beyond the destroyer and minesweeper now there, but the nearest Sovietthan twoateek away J|

International shippers are likely to become more anxious, but unless either Iran or Iraq significantly increases its attacks, trternovernentther cargoes win probablyHIB

_ It remains unclear whether the Iranian attackers.

probably Revolutionary Guards, knew they wereoviet ship and whether this action was approved by senior government officials. An officially sanctioned attack would underscore Iranian dissatisfaction with Moscow. However, the message from this strike Isuperpower flag alone will not provide protection and that ships In trade with Kuwait will require escort. This could lead to greater warship presence In the Gulf. Tehran haa tried to avoid superpower krvorvernent In the seven-year-old war. There Is insufficient evidence to indicate met Tehran has changed this bask; policy.

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SEP 9

Original document.

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