Military analysts say Iran probably couldn't really shut down the Strait of Hormuz, as it's threatening to do.

Even though Iran has dramatically ramped up its navy in recent years, analyst Jonathan Rue of the Institute for the Study of War says it would be "very, very difficult for Iran even to impede traffic for a significant period of time." He and other analysts say Iran would only be able to harass traffic -- anything from stopping tankers to outright attacks.

The goal would be to panic markets, drive up shipping insurance rates and spark a rise in world oil prices.

Analysts say Iran would probably pay a heavy price for trying to close the strait -- through which one-sixth of the world's oil supply passes. They say Iran would face a military response from U.S. forces in the Gulf, and also the loss of its few remaining international allies.


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