Hightened tensions in Gulf of Oman

(VOVWORLD) - Since two oil tankers were attacked in the Gulf of Oman earlier this week tensions in the region have escalated. Reconciliation efforts have been unsuccessful.
Hightened tensions in Gulf of Oman - ảnh 1 An oil tanker on fire in the Gulf of Oman in waters between Gulf Arab states and Iran, June 13, 2019.ISNA / via AFP - Getty Images

Iran said it is considering closing the Strait of Hormuz, the gateway for oil transportation to the Gulf. The US said it will send 1,000 additional troops and a guided-missile destroyer to the region. The destroyer USS Mason is already deployed there. At the weekend the US and Saudi Arabia conducted joint air-military drills in the Persian Gulf. These dangerous moves risk igniting the “Middle East oil tank”, with relations between the US and Iran souring rapidly since the nuclear deal collapse.

Accusations and evidences

Tensions have flared up since the oil tanker Kokuka Courageous exploded last Thursday on its way from a port in Saudi Arabia to Singapore and Thailand. A few days earlier the Norwegian-owned Front Altair tanker caught fire en route from Qatar to Taiwan, China. The US and its Arab allies immediately accused Iran of being behind the attacks. Iran has denied the accusation. There has been no clear evidence who was behind the attacks. The tension, however, is threatening peace and stability in the Middle East. Since President Trump withdrew the US from the Iran nuclear deal last May, Washington has reimposed sanctions on Iran to force it to return to the negotiating table to make a new deal.

The US has made clear its intention to eliminate Iran’s nuclear program, prevent any ballistic missile production, and limit Iran’s influence in the region. The US has named the Iranian Revolutionary Guards a terrorist group and suspended waivers for 8 countries and territories to buy crude oil from Iran.

With President Trump seeking a diplomatic victory to boost his reelection campaign, the Iran issue could lead to a military move against Tehran.

Risks out of control

Diplomatic efforts to ease the tensions continue. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has called for an independent investigation of the tanker attacks. Russia rejects any hasty conclusion. But US allies insist that Iran is the culprit. Although both the US and Iran have said they don’t want war, there is no sign of reconciliation.

Iran has said it will no longer maintain its stockpile of low-enriched uranium at the levels mandated by its nuclear agreement with world powers.