Nuclear Issues

3 Items

- Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Belfer Center Newsletter Summer 2010

| Summer 2010

The Summer 2010 issue of the Belfer Center newsletter features recent and upcoming activities, research, and analysis by members of the Center community on critical global issues. This issue highlights the Belfer Center's involvement with the Nuclear Security Summit, which was organized by Center alumni Gary Samore and Laura Holgate.

Closing Time: Assessing the Iranian Threat to the Strait of Hormuz

AP photo

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

Closing Time: Assessing the Iranian Threat to the Strait of Hormuz

    Author:
  • Caitlin Talmadge
| Summer 2008

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.