Nightly News | December 28, 2011
>>> there is a new threat tonight from iran to block a critical supply route for oil. the strait of hormuz linking the persian gulf to the world sea-lan sea-lanes. tonight the u.s. navy is warning iran don't try it. more on this from our chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell in the washington bureau. andrea.
>> iran has made these threats before, but the pentagon issued that stern rebuttal because some worried this time it could be more than just bluser. they're staging military exercises near the strait possibly in response to a recent senate amendment imposing the toughest sanctions ever on iran 's banking system and oil trade. the obama administration opposed that senate voting wanting to phase in more targeted sanctions because the strait of hormuz is the key passageway for one-sixth of the oil. the crisis could add $25 a barrel at least to oil prices , hitting the world's economy and, of course, stalling the american recovery right here just as its recovering. another big concern is also that these new sanctions will hurt a key u.s. ally, japan, which relies heavily on iranian oil. the senate voted unanimously, 100 votes in favor. now the president is boxed in. if he tries to get around the sanctions, he's accused of being soft on iran and if he doesn't he risks higher oil prices and stalling the economic recovery at home in an election year.
>> andrea, while we have you here news out of syria. arab league are witnessing the uprising and the government crackdown first hand. what are they finding?
>> it's very troubling so far to u.s. officials because the arab league monitors have been on the ground for two days and they have not pushed back against restrictions that the regime has imposed on their inspections, and neez are the first outside monitors that syria has permitted in. they have blocked their access to key areas where atroscities are reported. the u.s. is withholding any formal criticism because they hope this mission can succeed. in these two days the monitors have not gotten in and activists are reporting six more killings and opposition leaders are calling this arab league effort a farce. lester.