Tehran has once again threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, through which 20 percent of the world’s oil is shipped. Iran does indeed have the awesome power to deprive international markets of over 17 million barrels of black gold a day, escalate gasoline prices to unprecedented levels, and throw the global economy into disarray. But the mullahs who rule the terrorist state will never use it – because they would never survive the aftermath.
Iran played the Hormuz oil card in 2008 and in 2012, too. Like those other times, this one is a bluff — in spite of the regime’s fanaticism as it awaits the return of the Twelfth Imam and the subsequent holy war he would wage with the world’s infidels.
A clear indication of it being a bluff is Iran foreign minister Javad Zarif’s offer to negotiate directly with the Trump Administration about swapping Iranian prisoners awaiting extradition to the U.S. for Westerners imprisoned in Iran.
It means the pressure of U.S.-imposed sanctions on Iran, and the termination of waivers for countries bypassing the sanctions, is being felt. The Iranian economy is expected to shrink by 6 percent this year as a result of the punitive measures, with inflation hitting 50 percent.
Pressure On Iran is Working
Zarif is signaling that his boss, the Ayatollah, wants a way out from being on the receiving end of U.S. economic warfare. That way out might just lead ultimately to a deal that, unlike the Obama-Kerry pact, actually does permanently scrap Iran’s nuclear program and end Iran’s support of terrorist groups in the Middle East.
Tehran had been refusing to talk to the U.S. because Trump had exited the Obama deal.
Blocking the Strait of Hormuz would be a global economic emergency not experienced in anyone’s lifetime.
In his 2007 book, The Age of Turbulence, which he wrote after retiring as Federal Reserve Chairman, Alan Greenspan discussed the catastrophic economic consequences resulting from Iran’s ability to “block the Persian Gulf’s Strait of Hormuz, the shipping artery for a fifth of the world’s crude oil.” More chilling was what he wrote of al-Qaida’s now-forgotten 2006 failed terrorist attack on Saudi Arabia’s massive Abquiq crude oil processing facility, with a capacity of seven million barrels a day: “Had they succeeded, the resultant oil price surge would have severely unsettled world financial markets and, depending on the extent of the oil facility shutdown, could have brought much of world economic expansion to a halt, or worse.”
The President would almost certainly resort to military action if Iran blocked the Strait today, and it’s hard to imagine most of the rest of the free world not falling in behind.
If you think going to war over oil is obscene, then the next time you’re calling 911 to save a loved one who’s in danger of death try insisting that the ambulance not use any gasoline on its way over.
In the case of Iran, the likely result of a new war over oil would be regime change and the end of the Khomeini revolution, celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.
The threat Iran is making of closing the Strait isn’t just a threat to the U.S., or to the rest of the world; it’s a threat to itself. Which means it’s no real threat at all.
Thankfully we now have an administration tough enough to recognize that.
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