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As Iran and the United States move toward a confrontation that is looking increasingly inevitable, Iranian political and military leaders have. How Iran would lose by mining the Strait of Hormuz Iran previously assumed that closing the strait would lead Western leaders to negotiate a. Iran's president, Hassan Rouhani, threatened to order the closure of the Strait of Hormuz, a major oil shipping waterway in the Persian Gulf, in a.
The Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz are crucial not just to regional security, but also to the global economy. Tankers carrying about 17 million barrels of oil a day shimmy through the narrows, accounting for about one-third of all oil traded by sea globally. The strait is also a key conduit for shipments of liquefied natural gas, especially from Qatar. For countries that import oil or gas — including the United States, developed Asian economies, and increasingly, China — keeping Hormuz open to maritime traffic is crucial.
Oil generally gets more expensive when there are real or perceived threats to its supply or shipment. But now that the oil market is tightening — demand is catching up to supply — such risks are increasingly unnerving. Crude oil prices rose more than 3 percent in New York and London on Thursday, especially because of wildfires in the Canadian oil patch and a deterioration in Libyan security.
The latest Iranian threats echo previous vows to close the Strait of Hormuz, such as those that spooked oil markets in early Then, however, Iran threatened to slam shut the strait to any oil tankers destined for global markets. In the end, after pushback from U. InIran threatened to block the strait in response to sanctions by the United States and the European Union against the country's nuclear program. Iran's navy chief said it would be "easy" to block the strait, while its vice president warned that not a "drop" of oil would pass through it if more sanctions were piled onto Iran.
Why Iran Is Threatening to Close the Strait of Hormuz | RealClearDefense
But even when those sanctions did materialize, Iran did not block the strait. One difference between then and now is the extent to which the White House responded to the Iranian threats.
The former administration downplayed them while it sought to negotiate a complicated nuclear deal. But the current administration is pursuing a heavily focused anti-Iran policy in the Middle East while trying to build up its relationships with allies such as Israel and Saudi Arabia, who view Iran as their primary adversary. Would Iran actually block shipping in the Strait of Hormuz? Despite the rhetoric, actually blocking the Strait of Hormuz represents perhaps Iran's most extreme option.
Could Iran really close the Strait of Hormuz?
First and foremost, attempting to close the strait would result in a devastating war for Iran against the United States and the Gulf Cooperation Council, as the latter seeks to preserve the freedom of shipping and naval passage through the critical strait. Meanwhile Iran's own economy and naval activity also depend on the free passage of goods and vessels through the strait.
The move would be incredibly disruptive to global shipping and oil markets, spoiling the well with allies that Iran needs now more than ever. What is likely to happen next? Unless something as extreme as an all-out regional military conflict breaking out occurs, Iran will not block the Strait of Hormuz, even once the suspended oil-related sanctions go back into effect in November.
These will likely include U. Init harassed Emirati ships and an offshore Saudi platform. But now that an aggressive White House has brought back sanctions and the European Union is unable to offer economic guarantees, the IRGC may well start up this type of activity again.