Tankers Attacked in Gulf of Oman 13 June 2019

Two oil tankers came under suspected attack (WaPo) in the Gulf of Oman today. Iran and the U.S. Navy responded to distress calls, and the vessels’ crews were safely evacuated. The attack comes amid heightened tensions between the United States and Iran, as Washington has upped a pressure campaign against the Middle Eastern country.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in Tehran this week, said his trip was aimed at preventing an accidental conflict (FT) over the recent escalation. Japan’s trade ministry said the tankers were carrying “Japan-related cargo” (NYT). Last month, four oil vessels were attacked in the same waterway. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote on Twitter after the attack that talks between regional powers to reduce tensions are “imperative.”


“A distinct further increase in tension in the region is now highly likely,” tweets Carl Bildt, the co-chair of the European Council on Foreign Relations.

“The goal of someone like the Japanese prime minister would be to go back to President Trump and say: ‘If you don’t want this war, here is a realistic step you could take.’ It’s not going to be a step that I would suspect John Bolton would appreciate, but the president is the president, if he really wants to avoid this escalatory dynamic, there is a way forward,” the International Crisis Group’s Robert Malley told CNN.

In Foreign Affairs, Ilan Goldenberg examines what a U.S. war with Iran would look like.

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