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Is Iran serious about closing the Strait of Hormuz?

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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 once again raised the prospect of closing the strategic Strait of Hormuz.

The Strait of Hormuz is the world’s most important oil “artery” through which 30 per cent of the world’s oil supply passes. Therefore, its closure, even for a brief period, will impact massively on the global economy and by extension it will touch off longer term political ripple effects.

This is not the first time that Iranian leaders have threatened to close the Straight as a defensive measure against potential US aggression. The last time the idea was floated was back in January 2012 when the Obama administration imposed a range of sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

But just how credible is the Iranian threat from military, strategic and political standpoints? More specifically, will the Islamic Republic attempt to close the Strait due to tactical and operational necessity during a short and sharp war or does it envisage the closure as part of a broader strategy during a less dramatic but more drawn-out conflict with the US?

Read: Iran vows to sell as much oil as it can in face of US sanctions

Most likely Iranian political and military commanders have developed a range of options envisaging multiple forms of conflict with the US and the closure of the Strait of Hormuz is central to all of them.

Unity of vision

It is a measure of the mounting pressure on........

© Middle East Monitor