Around 20% of the world’s oil passes through the Strait of Hormuz. Iran is claiming full control of it now and is threatening to block passage.
This is in response to deteriorating relations with the United States, who earlier this year nullified our participation in the Iran nuclear deal. Sanctions and other economic measures have been brought against Iran in recent weeks, putting the Middle Eastern nation in fiscal turmoil.
There were more than 100 boats and ships participating in the military drill in a bid to send a message to the U.S. that Iranians can simply close down the passage, said U.S. officials.
According to Reuters, U.S. officials aim to economically isolate Iran and reduce its oil exports – one of the few regime-saving industries – to zero.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reportedly said that if Iran isn’t being allowed to export its oil, then no country in the region will be allowed to export oil from the Gulf.
Under most circumstances, Iran’s threats would be nothing more than saber-rattling. They are aggressive but have have not been willing to engage directly with enemies without certainty of victor, preferring to use proxies and subterfuge over direct actions.
The current economic status of Iran’s people and the dwindling influence the nation is having over the rest of the Middle East may be enough to prompt desperate actions such as clashing with the United States over the Strait or Hormuz. That’s not to say the United States should back down by any means, but we should not underestimate their resolve. A dog is most dangerous when cornered.
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