Hormuz Strait

Iran > Hormuz Strait
See Also : War Against Iran 

The United  States, Israel and their allies will enforce severely strict sanctions against Iran.
Then Iran will shut off the Hormuz Strait.
Then the United States, Israel and their allies will attack Iran.
Then Iran's allies, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Coalition will step in and help Iran.
Then World War Three will be in full bloom.

How soon? It can be as early as any time after February 5th. 2012 

2012-02-01 Think Tank Calls On US To Deploy Another Warship To Threaten Iran -  Prison Planet  

An influential bipartisan think tank has called on Washington to deploy yet another carrier battle group in a bid to threaten Iran, despite the presence of two US warships already in the region.

The United States should deploy ships, step up covert activities and sharpen its rhetoric to make more credible the threat of a U.S. military strike to stop Iran’s nuclear program, a bipartisan group said on Wednesday .

The report calls on the Obama administration to bolster the presence of the US Fifth Fleet in the Gulf and the Gulf of Oman by deploying an additional carrier battle group and minesweepers off Iran, conducting broad military exercises in the region with allies, and prepositioning supplies for the possibility of military action against Iran.

There are already two carrier battle groups located in the waters just outside Iran, with the USS Carl Vinson and the USS Abraham Lincoln already stationed in the region, along with the USS Makin Island (LHD-8), a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship.
Last month, three aircraft carriers patrolled the sensitive waters near the Strait of Hormuz, with the USS John C. Stennis briefly remaining in the region before being replaced by the Lincoln.

US intelligence officials yesterday upped the rhetoric against Iran during congressional testimony by claiming that Tehran is prepared to launch reprisal attacks inside the United States.

Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. cited the alleged Iranian plot to assassinate a Saudi ambassador on U.S. soil as a sign that, “Some Iranian officials — probably including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei — have changed their calculus and are now more willing to conduct an attack in the United States in response to real or perceived US actions that threaten the regime.”

According to retired US Army Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Shaffer, no information concerning the supposed plot even existed within FBI channels, strongly suggesting the story was manufactured by the Obama administration. The New York Times reported that the dubious nature of the plot caused a wave of puzzlement and skepticism from some foreign leaders and outside experts.

Advocates of an attack on Iran have implied that the US could stage a provocation as a pretext for a military assault. In January 2008, Dick Cheney’s office considered staging an incident to be blamed on Iran wherein US ships patrolling the Strait of Hormuz were attacked.

Iranian ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, said an IAEA high-ranking delegation would pay a visit to Iran on January 29, 2012. 

Iran  has said that it will react to Western oil sanctions against the country by choking oil flow through the Strait of Hormuz. 

Iran threatens to shut down the Strait of Hormuz in case of more Sanctions Against Iran against Iran's Oil & Gas sector. 

Iran has threatened to shut down the Strait of Hormuz, a key oil transport hub crucial to global industry, if US warships return to monitor their activities.

Iran, which has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz - the world's most important oil shipping lane - if US and EU sanctions over its nuclear program cut off its oil exports. 

Lieutenant Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Brigadier General Hossein Salami dismissed the US warning over the closure of the strategic strait, and stressed that powerful Iran acts on its own and never asks for anyone's permission to carry out what it desires.

2012-12 Salami said "The US is not in a position" to affect Iran's decisions. Iran does not ask permission to implement its own defensive strategies." 

Iran is the most capable military the United States has faced in decades. 
Iranian navy Admiral Habibollah Sayari claimed that cutting off oil shipments would be easy. 

The United States said it would not allow Iran to block the Strait, calling it a "red line" for the US military.

United States Republicans have been beating the drums of war in recent weeks (2011 to 2012) as tensions in the Iranian gulf have soared. 

Britain And The Hormuz Strait
The closure of the strategic and vital shipping route Strait of Hormuz will cause Britain to lose up to a half of its gas imports, a report says. 

Closing the Strait would block a trade route through which 46 percent of Britain's gas imports pass en route from Qatar, while 84 percent of the UK's Liquefied Natural Gas imports use the same route. 

EU member states are scheduled to meet to discuss the proposed embargo on Iran's oil sector on January 23, 2012.. 
This is while Lord West, a former UK military chief, has warned that Britain would have to weather the economic fall‑out should the closure occur. 

“I have no doubt at all that this would be the biggest problem for us,” the former head of the Royal Navy and security adviser to Gordon Brown, told the Financial Times. 

The UK has increasingly relied on gas imports from Qatar since 2010 ‑‑ increasing the supply by 67 percent, according to the report. 

Centrica, the parent company of British Gas, signed a three‑year deal with Qatar for LNG supply in February 2011. 

The report concluded that Britain's gas supply is at risk because it buys from such a narrow pool of suppliers and there is no viable export alternative for Qatar than the Strait, which carries one‑fifth of the world's oil and one‑third of its LNG.

2012-12-28, Iranian Vice president Mohammed Reza Rahimi threatened to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz should the West apply sanctions against Iran’s oil exports, saying that “If sanctions are adopted against Iranian oil, not a drop of oil will pass through the Strait of Hormuz”. 
On January 9th, 2012, Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi contradicted Rahimi’s threat. 
Key quotes from Persian : 

نگفتیم تنگه هرمز را میبندیمجمهوری اسلامی ایران مهمترین تامین كننده امنیت در تنگه هرمز است

اگر كسی بخواهد امنیت خلیج فارس را به خطر اندازد، در آن صورت امنیت آن برای همه به خطر میافتد

We did not say that we would close the Strait of Hormuz…the Islamic Republic of Iran is the most important provider of security in the strait…if one threatens the security of the Persian Gulf, then all are threatened”.

2011-12-27 Iranian 1st Vice President Reza Rahimi threatened to cut off oil supply from the Strait of Hormuz,
should economic sanctions against Iran limit, or cut off, Iranian oil exports.

2008-06-29 the commander of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps said that if Iran were attacked by Israel or attacked by the United States,
Iran would seal off the Strait of Hormuz, to wreak havoc in oil markets.
This statement followed other more ambiguous statements from Iran's oil minister and other government officials that a Western attack on Iran would result in turmoil in oil supply.

In response, Vice Admiral Kevin Cosgriff, commander of the US 5th Fleet stationed in Bahrain across the Persian Gulf from Iran, warned that
such an action by Iran would be considered an act of war,
and that the U.S. would not allow Iran to effectively hold hostage nearly a third of the world's oil supply.

The United States would take action and reopen the strait, which could be accomplished only by military means, including minesweepers, warship escorts and potentially airstrikes.
Defense Secretary Panetta said that the United States would not tolerate Iran’s closing of the strait.
The United States threatened Iran that closing the Strait of Hormuz is a “red line” that would provoke an American military response.

The Strait of Hormuz is a narrow chokepoint that could be mined effectively in a relatively short amount of time,
with disruptions within hours and more serious blockage in place over days.

Although the United States would respond with minesweepers, American naval forces might encounter layers of simultaneous attacks. 

The Iranians could launch antiship missiles from their coastline, islands or oil platforms 
and at the same time surround any American ship with missile-armed speedboats. 
The immediate issue is to get the mines.
But Americans are going to have to deal with the antiship cruise missiles.
Also the Americans will have small boats swarming and it’s all going to be happening at the same time.

The United States could take out the antiship missile launchers with strikes from fighter jets or missile.
But it could take time to do so, because the launchers on shore are mobile and often camouflaged.

The tight squeeze of the strait, which is less than 35 miles wide at its narrowest point, offers little maneuvering room for warships. 
“It would be like a knife fight in a phone booth,” said a senior Navy officer. 
The strait’s shipping lanes are even narrower: both the inbound and outbound lanes are two miles wide, with only a two-mile-wide stretch separating them.

American officials indicated that the recent and delicate messages expressing concern about the Strait of Hormuz were conveyed through a channel other than the Swiss government, 
which the United States has often used as a neutral party to relay diplomatic messages to Tehran.

In 2002, a classified, $250 million Defense Department war game concluded that 
small, agile speedboats swarming a naval convoy could inflict devastating damage on more powerful warships. 
In that game, the Blue Team navy, representing the United States, lost 16 major warships — an aircraft carrier, cruisers and amphibious vessels — 
when they were sunk to the bottom of the Persian Gulf in an attack that included swarming tactics by enemy speedboats.

“The sheer numbers involved overloaded their ability, both mentally and electronically, to handle the attack. The whole thing was over in 5, maybe 10 minutes.”  
Lt. Gen. Paul Van Riper, a retired Marine Corps officer who served in the war game as commander of a Red Team force representing an unnamed Persian Gulf military, said in 2008, 
when the results of the war game were assessed again in light of Iranian naval actions at the time.

NOTE that analysis does not include the major factors of China, Russia and the rest of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Coalition helping out Iran.

Iran has multiple military options to exercise in any attempt to close down the strait. 
Tehran’s military has been practicing just this since before the 1984-87 “Tanker War,” 
and it has worked extensively in recent years to refine its capabilities. 
While closing the waterway would be a complex and intricate operation for both Iran and the United States, the following snapshot provides a summary of how it would play out.

Iran can use anti-ship missiles to this end in numerous ways.
It has coastal missile batteries arrayed along its Persian Gulf coastline, along the strait itself and on islands near the major shipping lanes. 
Equipped with missiles ranging from the obsolete Silkworm to the C-802 missile (one of which struck Israel’s INS Hanit in 2006), 
they probably all would be effective in engaging undefended and unescorted supertankers.

Iranian missile boats also are stationed up and down the coast. 
They could swarm into the Persian Gulf and the strait in an attempt to sink commercial vessels and even U.S. warships further offshore, 
and continue to operate from islands and coves along the coast.

Meanwhile, Iran’s three Russian-built Kilo-class submarines could put to sea and lurk quietly in the warm, acoustically challenging waters of the Persian Gulf. 
These subs could deploy naval mines and launch both anti-ship missiles and torpedoes. 
Mining is perhaps the single most likely tactic Iran would use. Tehran has amassed an arsenal of naval mines, 
and mining would be one of the most lasting and time-consuming tactics to counter. Iranian forces would use both surface and submarine assets — some more surreptitious, some less so — to attempt to saturate the Gulf.

One third of the world's  seaborne oil shipment supply passes through the strategic Strait of Hormuz . 
The Strait of Hormuz is a narrow, strategically important strait between the Gulf of Oman in the southeast and the Persian Gulf. 

The Strait of Hormuz is 21 miles across at its narrowest.
The shipping traffic corridor itself is a mere 6 miles wide, with 2 miles each for incoming and outgoing traffic, separated by a 2-mile buffer. 
More than 90 percent of all oil exported from the Persian Gulf, or nearly 17 million barrels per day (bpd), transits this outgoing lane. 
This is nearly two-fifths of the world’s oil supply.

If the strait were closed, only about 3 million bpd of that could realistically be redirected through Saudi Arabia via a trans-Arabian pipeline. 
But there is no alternate route for the 18 percent of global liquefied natural gas volumes exported from Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. 
Effectively shutting Hormuz would thus have a very real impact on world energy markets, not to mention the already skittish equity markets.
On the north coast is Iran and on the south coast is the United Arab Emirates and Musandam, an exclave of Oman. 
The strait at its narrowest is 54 kilometres (34 mi) wide. 
It is the only sea passage to the open ocean for large areas of the petroleum‑exporting Persian Gulf.
About 14 tankers carrying 15.5 million barrels (2,460,000 m3) of crude oil pass through the strait on an average day, making it one of the world's most strategically important choke points.
This represents 35% of the world's seaborne oil shipments, and 20% of oil traded worldwide in 2011.

Persian : تنگه هرمز,
Arabic : مضيق هرمز‎

Iranian naval ships take part in a naval parade on the last day of the Velayat-90 war game 
in the Sea of Oman near the Strait of Hormuz in southern Iran, January 3, 2012.
British HMS Daring, a Type 45 destroyer, fitted with new technology that will give it the ability to shoot down any missile in Iran's armory. 
£1 billion, 8,000 ton destroyer, with its crew of 190, carries the world's most sophisticated naval radar, 
capable of tracking multiple incoming threats from missiles to fighter jets.

.The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson