SNAPSHOTS

What to Make of the Latest Uptick in Iranian Aggression

MIN READJan 4, 2021 | 22:09 GMT

A South Korean-flagged tanker is escorted in the Persian Gulf after being seized by the Iranian navy on Jan. 4, 2021.

A South Korean-flagged tanker is escorted in the Persian Gulf after being seized by the Iranian navy on Jan. 4, 2021.

(TASNIM NEWS/AFP via Getty Images)

Security risks, including threats to tanker traffic, in the Persian Gulf and Iraq will remain heightened after U.S. President-elect Joe Biden takes office, despite his intent to enter negotiations with Tehran. The uptick in Iranian nuclear and naval activity since Dec. 31 risks provoking a military response in the region from foreign actors, including a potential U.S. strike on Iranian soil. On Jan. 3, Acting U.S. Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller announced that the USS Nimitz would forgo its redeployment away from the Middle East due to “recent threats issued by Iranian leaders against President Trump and other U.S. government officials.” Although the Pentagon did not specify what Miller was alluding to, the comments come after a Dec. 31 statement made by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was initially translated as saying Trump would be ousted from “life.” Iranian officials have since this was a mistranslation, specifying that Rouhani was referring to Trump’s...

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