US-Iran tension and the “brink of war” game

(VOVWORLD) - The US-Iran tense relations have intensified over the past days since Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) seized two British oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz, accusing them of violating international maritime law.   

Iran has denied any of its drones were shot down by the US in the Strait of Hormuz but claimed it has arrested 17 members of a CIA ring and some of them have been sentenced to death. Commander of the IRGC Aerospace Force Amir Ali Hajizadeh said on Sunday that US President Donald Trump lied about shooting down an Iranian drone.

Washington’s ultimate pressure     

Tehran said the British oil tanker had apparently turned off its tracking signal and ignored warning signals from Iran before they were arrested. Its manager Stena Bulk said the oil tanker vessel abided by international maritime law. Britain threatened Iran with serious consequences unless Iran releases the oil tanker but said the government was not contemplating military action.

US President Trump criticized Iran and said he would talk to Britain about the problem. According to analysts, the US wants to avoid a military dispute with Iran, particularly when the US presidential election is approaching. Instead of military threats, the US wants to put ultimate pressure on Iran to stifle its oil export, which is the backbone of Iran’s economy. The US’s sanctions on Iran have raised the EU’s concerns about investing in Iran.

Tug-of-war game on the brink of a war

Since the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979, Iran and the US have experienced a hostile relation. But under the Obama administration, their relations were improved with the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2015, which ruled that Iran limited its nuclear program in exchange for easing sanctions. Things have changed under the Trump administration. He withdrew the US from the nuclear deal with Iran and resumed sanctions on Iran.   

The US-Iran relations have worsened in the past 2 months. Regardless of their tough stance and red-line barrier, both have avoided a military confrontation. When Iran shot down a US drone in the Strait of Hormuz in June, the US aborted an air strike, but tightened sanctions on top Iran’s officials. In return, Iran has broken some important nuclear commitments and exceeded an agreed uranium enrichment limit.

President Trump sent Senator Rand Paul to meet Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in New York to discuss a solution to the Hormuz crisis. Iran, while talking about freedom of passage on the Strait of Hormuz, warned that any military attack against it will be retaliated, but left open the possibility of adding more regulations to the nuclear deal if sanctions are removed.

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