When faced with heightened U.S. tensions or an extension of sanctions down through the years, Iran
frequently threatened to shut down the strategic Strait of Hormuz shipping route. Amid the current tensions
, Iran's top general once again made the threat in late April. Given those threats and the fact that the strait has witnessed serious clashes in the past such as Operation Praying Mantis and the downing of Iran Air Flight 655 in 1988, just how strategically important is it?
The Strait of Hormuz is one of the world's most important oil arteries and one of the biggest possible chokepoints to global supply. The Financial Times recently published data
from Lloyd's List Intelligence which shows that nearly 17 million barrels of oil passed through the narrow shipping lane each day in 2018. That is more than any other global chokepoint for seaborne crude with 15.7 million barrels transiting the Strait of Malacca every day and 4.6 million barrels passing through the Suez Canal.
Threats to shut down the Strait of Hormuz are taken seriously and if tankers cannot transit a chokepoint, it would have major repercussions such as an increase in oil prices. It isn't just about oil. About a third of the world's liquefied natural gas also passes through the strait.