Since 2005, Iran has come under constant and increasing pressure from the Western world to shut down its nuclear program. Their underground uranium enrichment sites have been a constant frown producer at the European Union headquarters and of course, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denies they’re creating nuclear weapons in said facilities, which he says they’re using to research nuclear power development and medical technology (sure they are). On January 23, 2012, the member nations of the European Union formally approved an oil embargo against Iran.
Iran’s retaliation to this announcement came the next day, when they threatened to close the shipping lanes in the Strait of Hormuz, at the mouth of the Persian Gulf. The Strait of Hormuz is one of the world’s most strategically important channels — even though it’s only 21 miles wide, it’s still big enough to accommodate the world’s largest crude-oil tankers. With oil and gas making up 60 percent of Iran’s revenues, they look to suffer greatly from the embargo. As do the EU and China (the EU is the second largest market for Iranian oil, behind China and Southeast Asia – where 85% of the oil goes). Hopefully crisis can be averted and an agreement can be reached before the Strait of Hormuz is shut down.
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