situation report

U.S., Iran: Washington Considers Responses to Tanker Attack

1 MIN READJun 17, 2019 | 21:34 GMT

What Happened: The Pentagon and the White House are considering various options to respond to Iran's alleged attack on U.S. oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, The New York Times reported June 14. Measures include sending additional forces to the region (including warships and missile batteries); providing armed escorts to vessels transiting the Sea of Hormuz; reflagging tankers with the U.S. ensign to entitle them to protection; and tacking on more sanctions against Iran as punishment.

Why It Matters: The United States' proposed retaliatory options still largely fall within a deterrence and defensive security strategy, aligned with Washington's robust economic offensive against Iran. Should the U.S. follow through with threats to add significant additional forces to the region, it would increase the risk of a U.S.-Iran confrontation. 

Background: Some U.S. allies, such as Germany and Japan, have hesitated to fully accept Washington's accusation that Iran was behind the recent tanker attack. The United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, have been more vocal in placing the blame on Tehran.

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