What Happened: Iran has claimed an incident occurred with one of its oil tankers in the Red Sea, Reuters reported Oct. 11. Officials first hinted that a missile from Saudi Arabia could have hit the vessel, although Tehran since withdrew its initial claims and reports of a fire onboard.
Why It Matters: Significant uncertainty still surrounds the incident; further details could prompt Iran to respond in different ways. It remains unclear whether the tanker was attacked or suffered an accident, although Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United States could all have a motive and capabilities to carry out a strike.
Background: The United States and Saudi Arabia have thus far not visibly responded to Iran's attacks against the Abqaiq and Khurais oil processing complexes, raising the risk that accidental incidents could be perceived as retaliatory strikes.
- How Iran's Attack Will Shape Saudi Arabia's Regional Stance (Oct. 2, 2019)
- Saudi Arabia Considers the Consequences of a Strike on Iran (Sept. 30, 2019)
- U.S.: Iran Draws Washington Deeper Into the Middle East (Sept. 27, 2019)