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Iran threatens close of strait of Hormuz, but the US would stop them



military personnel participate in the Velayat-90 war game in
unknown location near the Strait of Hormuz in southern Iran
December 30, 2011.

News/Hamed Jafarnejad

  • Iran threatened to respond to economic sanctions
    against its oil exports imposed by the US with military action
    to shut down the Strait of Hormuz, but the US would shut it
    down quickly.
  • The Strait of Hormuz sees around 30% of the
    world’s oil supply pass through, so the US and its allies in
    the Middle East would have it back open in days.
  • Iran must know it can’t hold the strait, but a former
    US ambassador told Business Insider it’s likely a bluff to try
    to send a message about oil prices, which Iran could manipulate
    and use to help break US-imposed sanctions. 

Iran threatened to respond to economic sanctions against its oil
exports imposed by the US with military action to shut down the
Strait of Hormuz, the sea passage into the Persian Gulf that sees
around 30% of the world’s oil supply pass — but if they did, the
US would shut them down in days. 

“As the dominant power in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of
Hormuz, (Iran) has been the guarantor of the security of shipping
and the global economy in this vital waterway and has the
strength to take action against any scheme in this region,” Armed
Forces Chief of Staff Major General Mohammad Bagheri said,
according to Reuters.

Iran’s threat to shut down a major international waterway vital
to providing food and commerce for hundreds of millions in the
region follows its president saying the US could find
itself in the “mother of all wars”
with the Islamic

But Iran’s military wouldn’t last more than a few days against
the US and its allies, and according to experts, Iran must know
this, and is likely bluffing as they have in
past threats
to close the strait. 

“In the event Iran choose to militarily close the Strait of
Hormuz, the U.S. and our Arabian Gulf allies would be able to
open it in a matter of days,” former Adm. James Stavridis
told CNBC on Monday.

Stavridis, who served as NATO’s supreme allied
commander Europe, said that Iran would likely try to mine the
waterway to ward off traffic, and may also resort to sending out
its small, fast attack craft on suicide runs against US Navy
ships that could do some damage. 

But the US wouldn’t go it alone, and Iran would quickly
find the waterway unmined, its fast attack craft at the
bottom of the strait and its coastal missile batteries

What’s behind Iran’s bluff? Oil

fleetmon strait of hormuz
This map shows maritime
traffic along the Strait of Hormuz, where about 30% of the
world’s oil experts pass through.


Former US Ambassador to Turkey James Jeffrey, now an expert at
the Washington Institute, told Business Insider that it’s “highly
unlikely” Iran would move on the Strait of Hormuz, “but just the
threat of doing that sent oil prices up.”

President Hassan Rouhani, in warning Trump about the
“mother of all wars” tried “to warn not so much Trump, but all of
the customers of Iranian oil that if they all stop buying Iranian
oil when US sanctions take effect on November 4, it will hurt
prices,” said Jeffrey. 

Manipulating oil prices and wielding its massive oil
production infrastructure represent “the weapon that the Iranians
can most easily use,” in combatting US sanctions, Jeffrey said.
Rather than violating the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or
the Iran deal, Iran prefers to force nations to trade with it in
spite of US sanctions by putting pressure on overall

“If they would have been violated the JCPOA,” said Jeffrey,
“they’d lose the support of western Europe.”

“They’re doing this to spook consumers,” of Iranian oil,
said Jeffrey. 

“If the Iranians want to escalate” tensions into fighting
along the Strait of Hormuz, “we saw that movie in ’88 and in the
end they lost their navy,” said Jeffrey, referring to the
Operation Praying Mantis, when the US responded to Iran mining
the strait with an aircraft carrier strike group that decimated
its navy. 

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