Oman sees biggest Gulf clash risk in Strait of Hormuz

Oman sees biggest Gulf clash risk in Strait of Hormuz

The risk of a military confrontation is higherin the Strait of Hormuz than anywhere else in the Gulf region, Oman's foreignminister said, due in part to the growing number of military vessels fromdifferent countries that are guarding it.

The waterway between Iran and Oman – 33 km (21 miles)wide at its narrowest point – is the conduit for some 30% of all crude andother oil liquids traded by sea.

Friction between Iran and the West had led several nations tosend task forces to guard shipping there, and Washington has blamed Tehran forattacks on international merchant vessels in or near the area, something Tehrandenies.

"There are a lot of military ships in the Hormuz (area)and our concern is there could be a mistake," Minister of State forForeign Affairs Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah said late on Saturday at theMunich Security Conference.

That would make that area the riskiest flashpoint in the Gulfover the coming months, he added.

Iran cannot legally close the waterway unilaterally becausepart of it is in Omani territorial waters. However, ships that sail itpass through Iranian waters, which are under the responsibility of Iran'sIslamic Revolutionary Guards Navy.

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