US-Iran Tension; The Issue of the Strait of Hormuz

The Strait of Hormuz is considered one of the most, if not the most strategic strait of water on the planet. Oil flows through the Strait of Hormuz account for roughly 40% of all world traded oil, and the 17 MMBD or more of oil that normally are shipped through the Strait of Hormuz goes eastwards to Asia (especially Japan, China, and India) and westwards (via the Suez Canal, the Sumed pipeline).  It is strategically located between Iran and Oman, giving Iran an opportunity to influence global economies.

As it is one of the most strategic waters on the planet, there have been so many tensions in this area since so many years ago.

In 1970s, Richard Nixon (1969-1974) helped Iran to be regional gendarme, at that time Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi claimed to be in control of the world’s fifth most powerful army. United States with partnership of England made Iran as undisputable military power in the Persian Gulf region.

Overthrowing of Pahlavi regime and beginning of Islamic revolutionary government in Iran (1979) changed nature of relations between Iran and United States. After Victory of the Islamic Revolution, Iran rejected being regional gendarme.

Crisis between Iranian new government and the United States arose when Iranian students attacked and captured embassy of the United States. Capturing of American embassy was also beginning of tension between Iran and European countries. United States re-acted the hostage crisis by enforcing sanctions against Iran which began with freezing Iran assets in the United States.

The hostility between Iran and United States was continued during and after the Iraq-Iran war. Economic reconstruction was Iran priority after the war; but United States put economic sanctions on Iran to overthrow Iran government by isolating it in economic and political spheres. Then United States tried to convince European countries to enforce sanctions against Iran and isolate Iran because of reasons like attempts of Iran to achieve Weapons of Mass Destruction, violation of human rights and support of terrorism. Since years ago these three axes have been the main problems of the West with Iran, but it seems they are just excuses and the main reason lies somewhere else, then what is the main reason? The answer is simple; it’s just the matter of controlling power in a way to protect their strategic goals in the Middle East.

After The victory of the Islamic Revolution, Tehran tried to empower the Muslim “ummah”  (the nation of Islam) by encouraging independence and freedom of the Islamic countries.


Starting Point of the Strait of Hormuz Dilemma

Western tensions with Iran have increased since a November 8 report by U.N. nuclear watchdog saying Tehran appears to have worked on designing an atomic bomb and may still be pursuing research to that end. Then, EU foreign ministers decided to tighten sanctions on the world’s No. 5 crude exporter, but left open the idea of an embargo on Iranian oil.

Following imposing sanctions against Iran, Iran’s unwillingness to negotiate in good faith to reach an agreement over its nuclear program, and Iran’s 10-day maneuver in Persian Gulf, US decided to impose sanctions on Iran’s central bank.

According to a senior Iranian commander this war game is also a warning to foreign and extra-regional powers, making it clear that the region does not tolerate any country that seeks to pursue illegitimate interests in the neighborhood.

President Obama ended 2011 by signing a major defense bill, targeting Iran’s central bank on Saturday. Following this, French foreign minister Alain Juppé called for “stricter sanctions” and urged EU countries to follow the US in freezing Iranian central bank assets and imposing an embargo on oil exports. 3 January 2012.

Besides, accusations of an alleged Iranian plot to kill the Saudi ambassador, Iran’s prosecution of CIA spy and capture of CIA drone are major elements that involved in intensifying tensions.

A senior Iranian official on Tuesday delivered a sharp threat in response to economic sanctions being readied by the United States, saying his country would retaliate against any crackdown by blocking all oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz, a vital artery for transporting about one-fifth of the world’s oil supply. Subsequently, the US military has warned that it will not tolerate any attempt by Iran to close the Strait of Hormuz.

Any clash in this region will endanger the regional and international peace. Closure of Strait of Hormuz is not in the interests of Iran. It would give America a reason to unite world opinion against Iran and pressure will mount on Iran in case of any closure of this oil supply route.

It’s necessary to know that United States of America will never attack Iran without any support of its Western allies like UK and France, this time they won’t risk their already fragile economies while taking part in any military adventurism against Iran.