Iran has the right to close the Strait of Hormuz, amirite?

Iran ‘definitely’ closing Strait of Hormuz over EU oil embargo

The way I understand it:

1. Iran owns the Strait of Hormuz.

2. Iran is pissed about the EU’s embargo on Iranian oil.

3. So Iran is going to close the strait in retaliation, which will slow down or stop oil supplies and drive up oil prices.

So far everything makes sense. If a government doesn’t like what a country is doing, such as developing nuclear capabilities that may or may not be nuclear weapons, they can stop buying oil from that country. It’s their choice to pay more.

If Iran can’t sell much of their oil anyway and decides to incentivize other countries to buy their oil by closing a strait they own, that’s their prerogative.

Strait of Hormuz

Here’s where things get batshit insane.

Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman General Martin Dempsey said, “We’ve invested in capabilities to ensure that if that happens, we can defeat that.” That, or course, is Iran choosing, perfectly legally, to close their own strait.

And he’s not fucking around. As I type there are two U.S. aircraft carrier battle groups sit in the seas off the Iranian coast and there’s a new U.S. Commando team operating near Iran.

Governments are illegit, for sure. But as long as they exist, America is best served by respecting their sovereignty. Going around opening straits through brute force, violating Iran’s sovereignty, giving their people legit reasons to resent our violent military intervention into how they use their land and water will come back to bite us on the ass. And for what? So the EU can continue its embargo without much difficulty? Don’t you embargo in order to force a country to do your bidding without military involvement and national sovereignty violations? If you can’t run an embargo without violating national sovereignty, then just go ahead and go to war or give it up. But this chest-puffing bullshit has got to stop or shit’s going to get real on the playground and we’re going to be the ones at fault.

Image by eutrophication&hypoxia.


  1. Em_pty Skin

    It’s much more than refraining from purchasing their oil. They have pledged to not trade with any other nation that trades with them. China, Russia, Brazil, Turkey, etc. The point is to turn the rest of the world against them as well. It also pushes the people further into the hands of the government there. We are making it more difficult for them to live.

    The embargo also extends to Iranian central bank assets. Can you imagine if the Federal Reserve was prevented from transacting? The U.S. would be on its knees instantly. The people of Iran have already seen a 100% price inflation.

    That straight is not Iran’s either. Saudi Arabia has as much claim to it as Iran. Although, I agree that if the two wanted to close it, there is nothing we could do, as it is theirs…

    Having said that, it really is not in their long run interest to do so. Iran has gold, but not enough to live on for more than a year or two.

    • That is some really great background info. Thank you so much. Certainly the economic sanctions are more threatening and painful for the Iranian people than I realized. Iran threatening to close the strait as a response to the sanctions seems like a case of unintended consequences. Perhaps it’s time for the US to cut its losses and leave Iran alone.

  2. Cody

    Technically, any reasonable claim of ownership of the strait would be split between, the USA, Oman and Iran. Iran is on the north side, Oman and the UAE are on the south side. According to agreements that all 3 of these nations have signed, the 12 miles closest to each of these nation is “theirs”. The middle of the strait is declared to be international water. In other words, unclaimed property by mutual consent.

    In closing the strait, Iran would be claiming both the property of Oman and the UAE, but also breaking the agreement with regards to “international water” between almost all maritime nations.

    Unless you think that there is a reason why Oman and the UAE’s claim to their side of the strait is unfounded? Or that the internationally agreed claim of the “international waters” area down the middle is unfounded.

    • Cathy

      That’s a lot of stuff I didn’t know. Thanks Cody. Really what I’m getting at is I’m not digging the idea of the US reacting with coercion when a country does what it wants with its stuff. So I guess my question is whether Iran could disrupt movement through the strait without violating Oman’s and UAE’s sovereignty. If not, and they still do it, it sounds like their rights to defend, not the US’s.

  3. Pinkmoon10

    How can we act as though we own a strait that is on the other side of the world? I am very troubled by the threatening war games going on over there. We don’t want to ignite World War III, do we? Also, it would ease tensions of Israel would not constantly threaten to bomb strategic targets there. Just be quiet for a while and let things simmer down.

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