Keep in mind, the Iranian don't have to stop warships, but rather giant slow unarmed unarmored targets filled with flammable materials. Even worse, tankers are crewed and operated by civilians who have no tolerance for risks to their lives or finances. It would be easy to attack Iranian nuclear sites, but very difficult to make the strait safe enough for commercial traffic.
New pipelines that bypass the strait are coming on line. The Iranian threat of "cutting the West's jugular" is weaking by the day. That said it is clear that the sanctions are working and Iran will need to change it's tune on nuclear expansion or face the wrath of the Iranian people. The threats of attacking Iran only serve the Govts purpose of keeping the people afraid of the West.
http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/4203f...#axzz27hToCydtThe new links will more than double the total pipeline capacity bypassing the strait to 6.5m barrels a day, or about 40 per cent of the 17m b/d that transits Hormuz.
The geopolitical importance of the strait is such that Cyrus Vance, former US secretary of state, called it “the jugular vein of the West”. Over the weekend Ali Fadavi, naval commander in Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard Corps, said Tehran had the ability to “not allow even a single drop of oil to pass” the strait.
Abu Dhabi and Riyadh say the pipelines are not a direct response to Tehran’s threats. But oil traders and scholars say they are clear counterweight. “Multiple pipelines would partly negate the Iranian threat to block [the Strait of] Hormuz,” said Rafael Kandiyoti, senior research fellow at Imperial College London and author of Pipelines: Oil Flows and Crude Politics. “Showing increasing pipeline capacity suits the purposes of Saudi Arabia.”
The US would never allow the strait to be closed on principle alone. Iran will not be permitted to hold its neighbors hostage. The US would destroy those heavy guns in no time, and their clunky diesel subs are not exactly stealthy, and as soon as Iran attacked a US ship, the flight line from Turkey would be saying Howdy.