Iran to Lose the Most in Hormuz Strait Shutdown Scenario

Iran to Lose the Most in Hormuz Strait Shutdown Scenario

Friday, 3 August, 2018 - 06:30
Abdul Latif Al Sayadi, a researcher at the National Archives of the Ministry of Presidential Affairs, WAM
Dubai - Mosaaed Al Zayani
Tehran’s threats against international navigation in the Strait of Hormuz have been only getting bigger over the last period in fear of Washington forcing other countries to stop buying Iranian oil. US economic pressures placed on Tehran returned right after it withdrew from the nuclear agreement.

But are Tehran’s loud threats true? Not really, with four reasons standing between Iran and the shutdown of Hormuz Strait, Iran’s bet on crippling international navigation is farfetched.

According to international law, closing down the strait violates the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which provides for the “right of transit” for all sovereign states even in territorial waters of other countries, legal expert and researcher UAE at the National Archives of the Ministry of Presidential Affairs Abdul Latif Al Sayadi explained.

In a statement given at the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research, ECSSR, Sayadi affirmed that shutting down Hormuz Strait denotes a direct attack on the sovereignty of several regional countries, whose maritime borders fall within Iran’s territorial waters.

When taking a bold step such as shutting down an international navigation route, Tehran must take into consideration the fact that “most of its ports are located inside the Arabian Gulf Basin and not outside.” If Iran moves towards shutting the strait it would be self-destructive.

Gulf states, Iran’s main target in shutting the strait, have alternatives to exporting oil in the event of a Hormuz Strait shutdown. One of the alternatives is the proposal to create a water channel across the UAE linking Fujairah and Dubai and which goes beyond Hormuz waters.

Sayadi pointed out that Iran may resort to a policy of entrenching the strait with submarines, suicide boats, ballistic missiles, or anti-ship missiles.

“All these scenarios will leave Iran at loss, because it can’t match international forces in a confrontation,” he added.

Hormuz Strait is one of the most important waterways worldwide and is the only maritime port for Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar.

With an average width of 50 km and 60 meters in depth, the strait has heavy transit activity standing at 20 and 30 tankers a day.

With an oil tanker passing every 6 minutes during peak hours, the strait is a route through which 40 percent of world's sea-transported oil travels.

More so, Hormuz Strait is the maritime corridor linking Middle East crude oil producers with major markets in Asia, the Pacific, Europe, North America and others.

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