U.S. could easily stop Iran from closing Strait of Hormuz

Iran lacks the capability to block the world's leading shipping route for crude oil exports, according to a new report by a Washington think tank.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies said the Iranian navy, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, has failed to procure platforms or weapons required to block the Strait of Hormuz, the passageway for 60 percent of the world's oil trade. In a report, the Washington-based center said the United States could block any Iranian attempt to attack Gulf shipping, particularly from the sea.

Iran could not close the Strait of Hormuz, or halt tanker traffic, and its submarines and much of its IRGC forces would probably be destroyed in a matter of days if they become operational," the report said.

The assertion undermined an Iranian warning to threaten the global oil trade if attacked by the United States. The warning was issued during the Holy Prophet exercise in the Gulf, which took place from March 31 to April 6.

The Iranian navy remains highly vulnerable and would be quickly overwhelmed by a U.S. attack.

The report also dismissed the effectiveness of Iran's air defense umbrella. Cordesman and Al Rodhan said Iran's arsenal of aging Western- or Russian-origin surface-to-air missile batteries could be quickly neutralized by U.S. countermeasures.

"All of its major systems are based on technology that is now more than 35 years old, and all are vulnerable to U.S. use of active and passive countermeasures," the report said. "Iran's air defense forces are too widely spaced to provide more than limited air defense for key bases and facilities, and many lack the missile launcher strength to be fully effective."

The report was uthored by Anthony Cordesman and Khalid Al-Rodhan.

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