Key Strait Threatened
Iran is now militarily capable of temporarily shutting off shipping through the Strait of Hormuz. Iran purchased missile and torpedo boats as well as small submarines from North Korea last year. These acquisitions show a new boldness in the Islamic Republic.
The strait, a 2-mile-wide channel with Iran on one side and Oman and the United Arab Emirates on the other, is a strategic chokepoint through which an estimated 40 percent of the world’s oil supply passes. Even a brief interruption in the shipments made through the strait would pose immediate and detrimental consequences for the world economy.
“We judge Iran can briefly close the Strait of Hormuz relying on a layered strategy using predominately naval, air and some ground forces,” stated Vice Adm. Lowell Jacoby, head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, in a Senate hearing (Wall Street Journal, February 17).
Tehran has also reportedly threatened Israel that it would mine the strait if Iran were attacked (Washington Times, March 20).
The United States does base its Fifth Fleet near the strait to ensure that it remains open; any move made by Iran to close it would no doubt bring swift retaliatory measures. But with tensions at an all-time high over Iran’s nuclear program, Iran is seeking any leverage it can get.
Jacoby also said in the hearing that Iran’s long-term goal was to expel the U.S. from the Middle East (Xinhuanet, February 16).
It is only a short time before the Iranians will be able to produce nuclear weapons— the ultimate leverage against America. Continue to watch Iran challenge the U.S. as it progresses to consolidate and strengthen its position in the Middle East as the prophesied “king of the south” (Daniel 11:40).
For more on Iran’s rise in power, request our free booklet The King of the South.