The Strait of Hormuz is the entrance into the Persian Gulf from the Gulf of Oman/Arabian Sea/Indian Ocean. The coast of Iran to the north takes a little dip inward, and to the south a small peninsula sticks up from the body of the Arabian Peninsula with parts of the countries of Oman and the United Arab Emirates on it, so that ships have to go north and then turn rather sharply west-southwest to get between the peninsula and the Iranian mainland, as well as avoiding numerous islands mostly belonging to Iran. During the Gulf War, the keeping of the Strait of Hormuz open for anti-Iraq forces was of great importance, since it is the only sea route to Kuwait.

There is a nice map of the strait at http://gulf2000.columbia.edu/reference/hormuz.html

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