How Iran Can Close the Strait of Hormuz Oil Trade Route
In 1940 or so, America imposed an oil embargo on Japan. Unbeknownst to the US government then was it forced Japan to be so angry it was will to go to war and that is how the Pearl Harbor plan was formulated. It provoked a desperate regime to make a desperate move.
So, as the latest and most damaging sanctions begin to take effect on Iran's ability to ship and sell oil, history could repeat with Iran acting out of anger and hatred by choking and disrupting the oil tanker routes that carry 17 million barrels of oil daily past the Strait of Hormuz, which is only 21 miles wide at its narrowest and its shipping lanes are a mere two miles wide! This area carries 20% of the world's oil, much of it going to China, some to Europe. Everyday, 14 oil tankers creep slowly through the narrow thread past the Strait of Hormuz. Iran and their navy are all visible. The sea lanes pass close by to Iranian held islands containing ship to ship missiles. One could easily sink a tanker and spill its cargo.
Even a brief closure would cause oil markets to zoom up in price, it would cause alternate routes like the 745 mile pipeline across Saudi Arabia to the Red Sea or via the Iraq-Turkey pipeline to the Mediterranean. America does not receive much of its oil from this area.
Iran must be tempted. They seem to yearn for a "punk nation to stand up to the Great Satan". Iran could conduct a large, "Pearl Harbor" style attack. Waiting for several oil tankers traversing in line and sinking them simultaneously with missile attacks causing mayhem for months. They could seize one or two and hold them as hostages. They could harass the tankers with their speed boats and aircraft.. Perhaps the best indirect way would be to release and plant their thousands of mines into the ocean, as they did once before on a small scale. The currents would take them further, tankers and naval ships would have to slow or avoid them, disrupting the whole sea lane. With so many mines, the shipping lanes would be stopped and with Iran having anti-ship missiles, clearing the mines would take at least a month or more, assuming Iran does not use them or seize tankers.
The mine warfare would provoke the US in an overt strike, this would unleash whatever Iran could toss into Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, all within range. Clearly, Iran does have military cards to play. Sure, they would lose in the end, but the price to for the world in the end would be high.