Getting the Strait of Hormuz straight: an FAQ

Iran has caused a stir with its threat this week to close down the Strait of Hormuz if sanctions were imposed on Iranian oil exports. Here’s why this small body of water generates so much world attention.

Hamed Jafarnejad/Fars News Agency/AP
Iran's navy chief Adm. Habibollah Sayyari points at the Arabian Sea just south of the Strait of Hormuz, Dec. 22. Iran has said they could easily close the Strait of Hormuz, which would cut off 20 percent of the world's supply of oil.

1. Where is the Strait of Hormuz?

The Strait of Hormuz is a narrow strip of water that connects the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman (see map). It runs between the Arabian peninsula and Iran, creating a short buffer between the Persian state of Iran to the north and the Arabian nations of Oman and the United Arab Emirates to the south. At its narrowest point, it is only 30 miles wide.

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