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Attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman have sent tensions soaring between Iran and the United States, and reinforced fears that the two countries could be hurtling toward an unintended war.
With no diplomatic relations between the two countries, no serious dialogue underway despite efforts by other countries to mediate, and no let-up in U.S. economic pressure on Iran, former U.S. officials, foreign diplomats and experts said there is a growing risk that a miscalculation, coupled with deep distrust. could trigger a conflict that neither side wants.
Ways - Moment - Region - Incident - Region
"In many ways, I feel like this is a 1914 moment for the region, that a single incident could put the entire region on fire," said Ali Vaez, Iran project director at the International Crisis Group think tank.
"Although this particular incident might not be the one to push the parties over the edge of the abyss of war, each cycle of escalation brings us closer to the brink."
Hours - Explosions - Secretary - State - Mike
Hours after the explosions, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described the incident as a "blatant assault" and said the U.S. had concluded Iran was responsible for targeting the Norwegian-owned and Japanese-owned ships along the vital oil transit route near the strategic Strait of Hormuz. Pompeo cited intelligence reporting, recent similar incidents and the sophisticated nature of the attacks.
Pompeo said a previous attack against four ships last month off the coast of the United Arab Emirates that Washington blamed on Tehran, a drone attack on a Saudi pipeline, a rocket attack near the U.S. embassy in Baghdad and other strikes were allegedly part of a deliberate pattern of "aggression."
Attacks - Threat - Peace - Security - Assault
"Taken as a whole these unprovoked attacks present a clear threat to international peace and security, a blatant assault on the freedom of navigation and an unacceptable campaign of escalating tension by Iran," Pompeo said.
Iran denied any role...
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