Iran’s foreign ministry have reportedly said it would implement countermeasures against the U.S. if it tries to block its oil exports.
As the U.S. presses its allies to stop importing oil from Iran ahead of sanctions that are due to be reinstated on the country in August and November Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani, has suggested that Iran could close the Straits of Hormuz, a channel that leads out of the Persian Gulf and through which much of the Middle East’s oil is shipped and exported.
Sanctions on Iran are set to be re-instated after President Donald Trump said that he was pulling the U.S. out of the 2015 nuclear deal brokered by America, the U.K., France, Germany, China and Russia. The deal had lifted economic restrictions on Iran, allowing its oil industry to bounce back.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) identifies the Strait of Hormuz as one of seven major “maritime chokepoints” that are “critical to global energy security.”
The strait is the busiest chokepoint by volume of oil transit. In 2016, 18.5 million barrels a day flowed through the channel, which was a record high. China, Japan, India, South Korea, and Singapore are the largest destinations for oil moving through the strait. Closing the channel would have dramatic consequences for Iran, oil-importing countries and the entire industry.