(Jerusalem, Israel) — Tensions are spiking between Iran, the United States and a group of Gulf Arab countries. Indeed, we may closer to a military confrontation with Tehran than any time since the 1979 Islamic Revolution and the takeover of the American Embassy by Iranian Radical Islamists.
On April 22nd — facing a plummeting economy due to crippling U.S. sanctions — Iran threatened to disrupt oil tanker traffic in and around the Straits of Hormuz. Over the last several weeks, Tehran began executing their strategy. At least six oil tanker ships have been violently sabotaged.
Now the U.S., the Saudis, the UAE, and the British say the intelligence confirms the Iranian regime is responsible for these attacks.
The most recent attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman come just one day after a missile scored a direct hit on a Saudi airport, injuring 26 people. The missile was fired from Yemen by Houthis rebels who are armed and supported by Iran.
We now face two big questions:
- Will the U.S. and her allies further ratchet up the economic pressure, or back off due to Iranian aggression?
- Will military force be used to punish Iran, or will the U.S. and her allies be content with tough talk and economic sanctions alone?
No one wants another war, especially in the Middle East. But the Trump administration has been quite clear over the past year that it is losing patience with Tehran.
“The U.S. Government publicly accused Iran of attacking two tankers in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday, as US President Donald Trump closed the door on talks between Washington and Tehran,” reported The National, the main English newspaper in the United Arab Emirates.
- U.S. statement: “It is the assessment of the United States government that Iran is responsible for the attacks that occurred in the Gulf of Oman today,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.
- UAE statement: “The UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Anwar Gargash, said the tanker attacks and the Houthi attack on a Saudi airport represented a ‘major and dangerous escalation’ that required the international community to help protect regional stability and security,” The National noted.
- Saudi statement: “The Iranian regime is the only party in the region that has been pursuing reckless escalation, through the use of ballistic missiles and UAVs to directly target civilian installations and innocent civilians,” stated Saudi Vice Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman, son of the King. He added that “the continuation of the Iranian regime’s aggression and reckless escalation, whether directly or through its militias, will result in grave consequences.”
- British statement: “We are taking this extremely seriously and my message to Iran is that if they have been involved it is a deeply unwise escalation which poses a real danger to the prospects of peace and stability in the region,” said U.K. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
Please pray for calm and stability to be restored. Pray for wisdom for U.S. and allied leaders. And if you’re interested in this on-going story, please follow me on Twitter for updates.