Rouhani’s Parting Gift: A Key to Lock the Strait of Hormuz
Outgoing Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced on July 22 the opening of the Goreh-Jask oil pipeline’s export terminal. Iran exports most of its oil from the terminal at Kharg Island, deep in the Persian Gulf. But the Goreh-Jask terminal sits on the Gulf of Oman. This means it bypasses the Strait of Hormuz, the choke point connecting the Persian Gulf with the Indian Ocean.
Fossil fuels are, by far, Iran’s most important exports. Oil and gas generate roughly 82 percent of Iran’s export revenues. The Goreh-Jask pipeline has the capacity to transport a million barrels of oil per day. It could increase Iran’s oil exports by about 50 percent. This pipeline, therefore, could very well be an economic lifeline for Iran. Iran is currently under United States economic sanctions imposed by President Donald Trump (though this has partially been reversed under the Biden administration). Tehran needs all the help it can get. The Goreh-Jask pipeline can give it a lot of help.
Last year, about 18 million barrels of oil passed through the Strait of Hormuz every day. By comparison, 3 million barrels per day passed through the Suez Canal. The U.S. Department of Energy calls the Strait of Hormuz “the world’s most important oil transit choke point.” It’s also one of the most vulnerable. At its narrowest point, it’s only 21 miles wide. On one side of that 21-mile stretch sits the Sultanate of Oman, one of the most moderate Arab states. On the other side is Iran.
Other major oil-producing countries—Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Iraq—export their oil through the Strait of Hormuz. Five of the 10 largest oil-exporting nations sit on the Persian Gulf. The U.S. Navy also depends on the strait to access its various Persian Gulf naval bases. It is one of the most critical choke points in the world.
This is what makes the Goreh-Jask pipeline so concerning.
Rouhani gave a televised conference about the pipeline earlier this year. “This is a strategic project in terms of security, economy and energy,” he said. “[C]ustomers who buy oil from us want to be confident that they can take our oil under any conditions …. [O]n a rainy day, it would be us who would be in trouble [if the Strait of Hormuz were to close]. We have got past this problem.”
Rouhani’s statements were made in the context of economic attacks against Iran by the U.S. and Israel. This makes it sound like he feared Iran’s enemies closing the strait to attack Iran. But Iran is one of two countries controlling the strait, so Iran would be in the best position to close it.
But why would Iran want to close the Strait of Hormuz in the first place?
Rouhani implied that Iran is too pragmatic to harm itself by closing the Strait of Hormuz. But Iranian foreign policy is by nature unpredictable and destabilizing. Tehran is not on good terms with the West. Its government has a reputation for bold, pushy escapades that irritate its enemies. If Iran really wanted to hurt the West, it could close the Strait of Hormuz to oil traffic. With a pipeline bypassing the strait, it could do so without hurting its own economy as much.
Iran also sponsors the Houthi rebels in Yemen. If the Houthis gain control of Yemen, Iran would control the Bab-el Mandeb as well. The Bab-el Mandeb is the choke point connecting the Red Sea with the Indian Ocean on the other side of the Suez Canal.
This would give Iran control over two of the most important choke points in oil trade. This could cripple the oil-dependent economies of the West.
Rouhani is facing the end of his term as president next month. Iran’s president-elect, Ebrahim Raisi, is an Islamist hard-liner infamous for ordering mass executions in the years after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Some even suspect he’s being groomed to replace the aging supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. He’s the only president-elect of Iran to have U.S. sanctions on him before taking office.
Rouhani put on a facade of being a moderate when dealing with the West. It is this facade that helped the Obama administration negotiate the disastrous 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
Raisi, as a staunch conservative, will likely not put on a facade. His foreign policy, therefore, could be far more provocative than Rouhani’s. The Goreh-Jask pipeline could form a major part of this provocation. It has the potential to be Iran’s key to lock America and its allies out of “the world’s most important oil transit choke point.”
The pipeline’s inauguration will likely be Rouhani’s last major accomplishment before leaving office, exposing him as being no moderate. The Goreh-Jask pipeline could be Rouhani’s parting shot at the West.
The Bible prophesies that Iran will get such control over world trade.
A prophecy in the book of Daniel reads: “And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over. … He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape. But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps” (verses 40, 42-43).
Who are these mysterious kings of the south and north?
The preceding verses of Daniel 11, compared with secular history, reveal who the king of the north is. In History and Prophecy of the Middle East, Trumpet executive editor Stephen Flurry proves that the king of the north referred to from verse 40 on is speaking of a revival of the Roman Empire developing in Europe right now, “the time of the end.”
Who, then, is the king of the south?
From Daniel 11, we know it is a major power located south of Europe; it has a pushy, provocative foreign policy. The references to Egypt, Libya and Ethiopia show that it has influence all over the Middle East and Africa.
Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry identifies the king of the south as a radical Islamist power bloc, led by Iran, in his free booklet The King of the South.
What nation could be better called the “king” of radical Islam? Iran already has an empire of proxy states and sponsored terrorist groups all over the region. Its tentacles stretch everywhere from Gaza to Yemen to Lebanon to Syria to Iraq to Somalia. And Iran is always hungry to add more countries to its conquests.
The key is the references to Egypt, Libya and Ethiopia. Mr. Flurry writes in The King of the South:
Why would Iran be so interested in getting some measure of control over Libya and Ethiopia? To me, the answer is intriguing.
All you need to do is get a good map of the Middle East, with the emphasis on the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Then you can see why the king of the south, or radical Islam, is so interested in an alliance with or control over these two countries (as well as Egypt and Tunisia). They are on the two seas that comprise the most important trade route in the world! …
That could give Iran virtual control of the trade through those seas. Radical Islam could stop the flow of essential oil to the U.S. and Europe!
The very idea of a radical Islamist power in control of the most important trade route in the world means that this isn’t just a local issue. It’s something that could affect the entire world in the biggest of ways. Add the power to close off the Strait of Hormuz, and that threat is greatly amplified.
To learn more, request your free copy of The King of the South.