Iran’s Threat to Hormuz Strait; Iraq’s Diplomatic Opportunity

Iraq would be drastically affected should Iran block the Hormuz Strait. Most of the oil Iraq produces is exported via the Strait. The scenario is seeing Iraq, distinct because of its good relations with both the US and Iran, practice its new diplomacy again, according to this article from NIQASH.

Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iran’s threats to block seagoing traffic in the Hormuz Strait, one of the most important waterways in the world, have caused strong reactions in Iran’s neighbour, Iraq, as well. Iran has made the threats in response to possible European and US economic sanctions. And despite the current internal political turmoil in Iraq, it has also led to another significant attempt by Iraq at international diplomacy.

Around one fifth of all crude oil passes through the narrow shipping channel, which lies between the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf. Iraq is currently heading OPEC (the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) and as such, Iraq’s Minister of Oil Abdul-Kareem Luaibi announced that he would be travelling to Tehran this week in order to extract assurances from Iran that they wouldn’t block the Strait.

In terms of diplomacy, this is another notable attempt at mediation by Iraq. The most recent involved Iraq’s intervention between the Arab League and Syria, which continues this week with Iraq declaring further intentions to continue to assist in trying to defuse the Syrian crisis.

In terms of the Hormuz Strait issue, Iraq is really the only nation that can do this kind of thing, as it has good relationships with the US and Iran. Iraq also sits in the middle between the nations like Saudi Arabia who are friendly towards the US and nations that consider themselves resistant to US influence, such as Iran. It’s hard to say whether this diplomatic role will continue in the future – some believe that Iran’s influence will grow and lead Iraq into that country’s corner whereas others say that US influence will remain strong.

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