Iran Claims Control of Strait of Hormuz. US Not Budging

By Faye Higbee

According to Stripes, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s naval commander, Gen. Alireza Tangsiri, made the statement on Monday that Iran was ‘fully in control’ of the Strait of Hormuz. He said it at the end of a major naval operation in the Strait.  But Secretary of Defense James Mattis stated if they attempt to block the Strait:

“Clearly, this would be an attack on international shipping, and — and it would have, obviously, an international response to reopen the shipping lanes with whatever that took, because of the world’s economy depends on that energy…” Mattis at a Press ‘Gaggle ” at the Pentagon

Gen Tangsiri and the Iranian Navy would do well not to buck that statement. This is ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis we’re talking about. “Whatever that took…”[The SecDef may not be fond of that moniker, but in this case it could prove useful.]

“All the carriers and military and non-military ships will be controlled and there is full supervision over the Persian Gulf. Our presence in the region is physical and constant and night and day …there is no need for the presence of aliens like the U.S. and the countries whose home is not in here.” Gen Tangsiri

The problem is that the Strait of Hormuz is an International Shipping lane through which nearly 1/5 of the world’s oil is shipped. Tensions between Iran and the US are heightened due to the sanctions being reimposed. And the US is not budging from its promise to keep the shipping lane open.

“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 ensure freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce in international waterways.” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

The Strait of Hormuz is extremely narrow, only 21 nautical miles at its narrowest point. On the north coast is Iran and on the south coast is the United Arab Emirates and Musandam, part of  Oman. As ships pass through that narrow point, they come very close to the waters of both Iran and Oman.

The Strait has been a contentious issue for decades. Iran attempted to block it in the 1980s, and threatened to do it again in 2011.

The American Society of International Law (ASIL) wrote back in 2012,

One-fifth of the world’s oil and ninety percent of Persian Gulf oil is transported through the Strait. Iran could blockade it by laying mines across the Strait, which according to experts could be completed within a matter of hours. Closing the Strait of Hormuz would send oil prices skyrocketing and, in this period of serious economic distress in Europe and the United States, could have severe long-term impact on economic recovery. It could also ignite and spread hostilities in the region.

Remember when Obama was President, Iran kidnapped two US Riverine boats and held the members? They were exploited for propaganda, and one of them even apologized to the Iranians.

Do you think that will happen now?


Featured photo: Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Iranian Naval Commander Gen Alireza Tangsiri