Tensions have been rising in the Strait of Hormuz as the United States, together with its allies, continues its maximum pressure tactic against Iran, which threatens one of the most important global lifelines in the energy sector.
Washington unilaterally withdrew from a landmark Iran nuclear deal last year, resurrected sanctions on the Islamic republic and increased its military presence in the region, despite the fact that Iran had fully complied with the deal’s requirements.
Tehran responded with restarting its centrifuges and ramping up uranium enrichment activities.
Iran seized a British-flagged tanker in the strait last week in retaliation for the seizure of an Iranian ship by the police of Gibraltar, which is seen by Britain as its overseas territory, earlier this month.
Moreover, the United States and Iran have announced that they shot down each other’s drones in the region, another sign of a major Gulf escalation.
The Strait of Hormuz, situated between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, provides the only passage connecting the Gulf and the Arabian Sea.
Although it is only 33 km wide at its narrowest point, with the shipping lane 3 km wide in either direction, the strait is one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes and most important waterways for oil.
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