James Forsyth

Following a strike, would Iran close the Straits of Hormuz?

Following a strike, would Iran close the Straits of Hormuz?
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In most discussions about what would happen following a strike on Iran it is taken as a given that the Iranians would close the Straits of Hormuz, through which 90 percent of Persian Gulf oil exports pass. The thinking goes that this would lead to a huge spike in world oil prices. But an interesting article in the new issue of Foreign Policy argues that it would be far harder for Iran to close the Straits than is commonly assumed. It points out that oil tankers can travel through 20 miles of the Straits rather than just the 4 mile official channel, that oil tankers are actually not that vulnerable to mines and that tankers’ large bow waves would make it impossible for most small boats to get close enough to launch an attack.

Also worth reading on the Iran front is Micah Kenzo’s op-ed in the LA Times that reminds us that several times Israel has taken military action which the United States disagreed with without destroying the strategic relationship between the two countries.