Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 23 September 2019

Beyond the Headlines: Tanker attacks straight from Iran's playbook

While the jury is still out on who targeted the oil tankers, the attacks bear the hallmarks of Iran's regional strategy

On June 13, two oil tankers were attacked in the Gulf of Oman, less than a month after four vessels were sabotaged off the coast of the Emirate port at Fujairah amid escalating tensions between the US and Iran.

The recent attacks are some of the most serious incidents to hit the Strait of Hormuz, which sees 18.5 million barrels of oil per day from regional oil exporters, including Iran. Tehran's historic calls to shut down the channel have often been viewed as empty threats, but with US sanctions slashing Iranian oil exports, there is little incentive for them to maintain peace in the waters.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Iran's President Hassan Rouhani both separately said they aren’t seeking a war, but their words have yet to turn into action, as neither side is making any attempt to de-escalate the situation.

This week on Beyond the Headlines, host James Haines-Young speaks with Jennifer Gnana, The National's energy correspondent, and Dr Aniseh Bassiri Tabrizi, a research fellow on Middle East security at the Royal United Services Institute in London.

Listen to our previous episode on rising tensions in the Gulf.

Updated: June 21, 2019 10:24 AM

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