02 July 2012

Iran Seeks Closure of Straight of Hormuz

The Straight of Hormuz has long been a controversial water through which a large portion of the world's oil must be shipped. Adjacent to Iran, the waterway is known around the world as a battleground in which western nations try and protect the shipment of oil from the Middle East to global markets while Iran tries to limit these exports to gain leverage in it's struggle for a space on the world's stage.

The location of the Straight of Hormuz (A).

In a move seen as retaliation for the EU's recent increased sanctions, Iran's Parliament has drafted a bill which would prohibit oil shipments in the Straight of Hormuz to nations imposing the sanctions. The body of water is a strategic shipping channel by which oil is moved from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, the UAE and Syria to consuming nations around the world.

The Struggle of East vs. West over Hormuz as
depicted in an Arab Political cartoon.

If Iran's government is successful in it's desire to close to the waterway to oil shipments going to countries which have imposed an embargo, the world oil markets may react violently as more oil is made available to Iran's allies while less is available to western countries. War hawks here in the U.S. are likely to use Iran's shipping prohibition to continue beating the war drum, saying that we need to protect our 'strategic interests' in the Middle East. In this case, 'strategic interests' refer to freely flowing oil. I hold out hope the U.S. and E.U. have the common sense to 1) recognize Iran's legitimacy as a sovereign nation state to control it's land and water, and 2) pursue a diplomatic solution to what is likely to be perceived by the west as another Islamic threat.

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