Everything in my editorial about Iran’s very real threat to close the Straits of Hormuz has now been verified directly by the Pentagon. They can do it and it will not be a clean operation getting such a blockade dismantled, not by a long shot. The US is now warning Iran directly that such an act would be absolutely intolerable. With crippling sanctions in place, even more on their way, and unemployment at catastrophic levels, the Ayatollahs and political leadership will have to do something to galvanize national sentiment in an attempt to refocus angst outward instead of inward. Further, when you have a force that is highly motivated (as in the IRGC) and utilizes relatively low-tech weaponry that is fairly easy to replace, the decision to sacrifice it in order for the political leadership to stay in power is not a hard choice to make, as it guarantees real results at a low opportunity cost. An old (I believe Persian) proverb goes something like this; “if you trap a cat in a room you better leave the door open.” In other words if the Iranian Government is backed into a corner it will act in order to live to rule another day, no matter how ghastly the consequences.
My editorial from a few weeks back, more relevant now than ever: