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Iranian military stages war games near the Strait of Hormuz

Hamed Jafarnejad / Fars News via Reuters

An Iranian soldier participates in the Velayat-90 war game on Sea of Oman near the Strait of Hormuz in southern Iran on Dec. 28, 2011.

Foreign media are subject to severe restriction on their ability to make and distribute news pictures in Iran. So, when images like this move right after Iran threatens to close the Strait of Hormuz you know that the Tehran is sending a clear message. In fact, Iran’s navy chief Habibollah Sayyari told the country’s English language press on Wednesday that closing the Strait of Hormuz will be easier than drinking a glass of water.

At the same time the U.S. Navy’s 5th fleet warned Iran that any disruption of traffic flowing through the Strait of Hormuz oil route “will not be tolerated.”

About 20% of the world's oil supply transits throught the Strait of Hormuz.

Msnbc.com news services report: Western nations are growing increasingly impatient with Iran over its nuclear program. The U.S. and its allies have accused Iran of using its civilian nuclear program as a cover to develop nuclear weapons. Iran has denied the charges, saying its program is geared toward generating electricity and producing medical radioisotopes to treat cancer patients.

The U.S. Congress has passed a bill banning dealings with the Iran Central Bank, and President Barack Obama has said he will sign it despite his misgivings. Critics warn it could impose hardships on U.S. allies and drive up oil prices.

Iran is the world's fourth-largest oil producer, with an output of about 4 million barrels of oil a day. It relies on oil exports for about 80 percent of its public revenues. Read more...

CNBC's Jackie DeAngelis reports the U.S. Fifth Fleet won't allow disruption of oil tankers in the Persian Gulf, then an analyst discusses what Iran stands to gain from halting oil tanker traffic through the Strait of Hormuz.