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What's Behind Iran's War Games in the Strait of Hormuz

Wed, January 9, 2013

Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, Founder and President of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and a formal U.S. Naval officer, says that whereas Iran's recent war games in the the Strait of Hormuz is most likely defensive posturing, the nuclear threat emanating from the radical regime is very real.

Iran has just completed six days of war games in the strait, something they did last year as well. Jasser says the games are primarily a signal to their own people to tell them that the regime is still in control, despite the country's downward ecomic spiral resulting from international sanctions that have been imposed upon it.

Moreover, Jasser contends, the games also are meant to send a signal to Iran's allies -- Turkey, India, China and Russia -- who have helped Iran circumvent the sanctions by buying its oil. With the war games, Iran is telling its allies that it is in control of the strait and will be able to defend it against any attack.

However, Jasser says, what America does need to take seriously about Iran is the nuclear threat. One way to do that is to not let Iran's allies undermine the sanctions by buying Iranian oil which only serves to pump up Iran's teetering economy.

Close to 40 percent of the world's petroleum and about 35 percent of the petroleum traded by sea travels through the strait, a narrow sea passage through the Persian Gulf to the open ocean of the Arabian Sea.

The strait is ones of the world's most strategically important choke points. Iran is on the northern coast of the strait, with the United Arab Emirates and Musandam, an exclave of Oman, on the south coast. At its narrowest, the strait is 21 nautical miles (39 km) wide.