Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security
Closing Time: Assessing the Iranian Threat to the Strait of Hormuz
How might Iran retaliate in the aftermath of a limited Israeli or U.S. strike? The most economically devastating of Iran’s potential responses would be closure of the Strait of Hormuz. According to open-source order of battle data, as well as relevant analogies from military history and GIS maps, Iran does possess significant littoral warfare capabilities, including mines, antiship cruise missiles, and land-based air defense. If Iran were able to properly link these capabilities, it could halt or impede traffic in the Strait of Hormuz for a month or more. U.S. attempts to reopen the waterway likely would escalate rapidly into sustained, large-scale air and naval operations during which Iran could impose significant economic and military costs on the United States—even if Iranian operations were not successful in truly closing the strait. The aftermath of limited strikes on Iran would be complicated and costly, suggesting needed changes in U.S. force posture and energy policy.
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