Why Iran Is Threatening to Close the Strait of Hormuz

Jul 5, 2018 | 21:33 GMT

This photo shows an Iranian boat firing a missile during war games in 2011, another time of heightened tension over the Strait of Hormuz.

An Iranian war-boat fires a missile during the 'Velayat-90' navy exercises in the Strait of Hormuz in southern Iran on December 30, 2011. Iran, which has been carrying out war games in the Strait of Hormuz over the past week, has said that 'not a drop of oil' would pass through the strait if Western governments follow through with planned additional sanctions over its nuclear programme. AFP PHOTO/IIPA/ALI MOHAMMADI (Photo credit should read ALI MOHAMMADI/AFP/Getty Images)



  • Facing the imminent reinstatement of U.S. oil sanctions, Iran is threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz, which would shut down the region's oil trade.
  • Iran has made this threat before and has never followed through, since actually shutting down the strait would be a drastic and damaging move for the country.
  • The tough rhetoric is more than likely to be followed up by more mild retaliation attempts, such as the harassment of vessels in the Strait of Hormuz.

Recently, Iran's government has been revisiting a familiar refrain: the threat to block the strategic Strait of Hormuz. In comments published on his official website July 3, President Hassan Rouhani issued a vague threat against regional oil exports, saying, "the Americans have claimed they want to completely stop Iran's oil exports. They don't understand the meaning of this statement, because it has no meaning for Iranian oil not to be exported, while the region's oil is exported." On July 4 and 5, several Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) officials expressed their willingness to follow through on the president's tacit threat. The IRGC's commander, Mohammad Ali Jafari, for example, said, "we are hopeful that this plan expressed by our president will be implemented if needed. We will make the enemy understand that either all can use the Strait of Hormuz or no one."...

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