Iran has made some bold statements to the effect that if sanctions against that nation continue, action may be taken; they particularly emphasize the possibility of closing the shipping lanes of the Strait of Hormuz by force. Iranian naval commander Habibollah Hayyari brags that closing the Persian Gulf to oil tankers, thereby disrupting the flow of Middle East oil to world markets, would be as difficult as drinking a glass of water.
Iran is seen by the world as a nuclear threat, combining missile technology with nuclear payload on their Shahab 3 missiles. The United States and world body law enforcers have already imposed strict sanctions, and are in the process of going further, even to the extent of targeting the Iranian central bank. Congress has approved such sanctions, and implementation awaits President Obama’s signature. Concurrently, European officials are considering a ban on import of Iranian oil. That ban would reduce the Iranian supply of oil to the world by about one third.
Iran’s vice president, Mohammad-Reza Rahimi, repeated the threat that the Strait of Hormuz would be closed if sanctions persist. New reports hasten to add that no further military threats have been made.
Businessweek, through Ali Nader of RAND Corp, points out that closing the strategic waterway might hurt Iran more than any other nation. Iran is more reliant than any other country on the Strait of Hormuz.
In March of 2011, Defense Intelligence Agency Director, Army Lieutenant General Ronald Burgess said to Congress that Iran was expanding naval bases in the Persian Gulf, and expressed a belief that they would be able to close the shipping lanes at least temporarily. A Center for Strategic and International Studies expert, Anthony Cordsman, predicted that closing the strait would be the beginning of a five to ten year period of rising tension in the gulf. Cordsman said that such moves by Iran would call for a United States change in military posture, and for increased attention in the Pacific.