In response to the increasing sanctions by the Trump administration, the Iranian regime is threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz, essentially cutting off the ability of other nations to move oil and gas through the strait.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran does not control the Strait of Hormuz. The Strait is an international waterway. The United States will continue to work with our partners to insure freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce in international waterways,” said U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Twitter.
The U.S. also told UN judges that they have no jurisdiction to rule on the Iranian regime’s demand to order the suspension of nuclear-related sanctions. Thus, they are potentially trying to grasp at straws before all the sanctions come into effect in November.
Iran claims control of the Strait
According to multiple media reports, a top Iranian Navy general of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Alireza Tangsiri said that the Iranian navy has taken control of the Strait of Hormuz, which is a shipping route located between Oman and Iran.
The Strait of Hormuz is 21 miles wide at its narrowest point and is the only sea passage for many of the world’s largest oil producers within the Indian Ocean. Most of the oil from Saudi Arabia passes through this strait. While the Saudis have attempted to create pipelines to bypass the strait, it is not enough to offset the threat Iran represents to moving crude oil to customers around the world.
In the beginning of August, Iran began drills that would allow them to shut down the waterway. Those drills were scheduled after U.S. President Trump pulled out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in May.
Since that time, the two countries have engaged in a war of words, each threatening the other with different actions if the sanctions went into effect and the JCPOA did not remain intact.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani threatened that if sanctions impacted the sales of Iranian oil, others would feel the impact as well. The U.S. has already promised a quick response to any efforts by the regime to shut down the Strait of Hormuz. A battle between the two nations on the sea could negatively impact the Iranian regime’s navy, essentially wiping it off the map, according to officials from the U.S.
Threat to the region and spreading terrorism
Iran is continually a threat to the region, with its influence growing in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, as well as its funding of Hezbollah in Lebanon. Many government officials have noted that Iran’s spreading of its extreme fundamentalism has resulted in a spread of terrorism throughout the region.
Just over two weeks ago, Iran test-fired a ballistic missile during a naval exercise. It was detected by U.S. spy satellites. There has also been a notable uptick in Iran cyberattacks in an effort to influence countries to turn away from the harsh line of the Trump administration.
The regime is clearly financing terrorism and representatives from the U.S. want further sanctions to limit their ability to continue funding groups responsible for the upheaval throughout the Middle East.
Efforts to remove Iran from Syria through talks with Russia also appear to have limited effect, as Iran and Syria have signed a new agreement for military cooperation. Many officials have noted that Iran’s continued presence in Syria is not going to have a positive impact on the region.
With the Iranian regime threatening to stop shipping lanes, it is clear that Iran’s leaders are trying to maintain control as the economic realities continue to hit hard on ordinary Iranians.