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Oil tankers attacks see surge after US-Iran sanctions

June 13, 2019 at 7:00 pm

Oil tankers seen at the Al-Basra Oil Terminal in Iraq, 16 May 2017 [Samuel W. Shavers/Wikipedia]

Attacks on oil tankers and violence have risen in the Gulf region since the US administration re-imposed sanctions on Iranian oil this spring.

In April, Washington announced that it would end waivers for sanctions on countries importing oil from Iran.

The move came as a part of the White House’s policy of exerting “maximum pressure” on Iran with a view to bringing the country’s petroleum revenue to zero.

Since then, the region has been rocked by several separate attacks, including the latest on Thursday when two oil tankers were targeted in the Gulf of Oman.

READ: ‘Suspicious’ tanker attack in the Gulf raises alarm

The attack came only one day after Yemeni Iran-back Houthi rebels targeted Abha Airport in Saudi Arabia and left dozens of people injured. Also, last month, four oil tankers were sabotaged and Saudi oil facilities were targeted.

Tensions have been rising between the US and Iran since last year, when the US unilaterally withdrew from a nuclear pact between the Islamic republic and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany.

The Trump administration has pursued a number of actions meant to scuttle the agreement, including the re-imposition of US sanctions on Iranian oil.

In response, Tehran vowed to continue exporting oil despite the US sanctions and threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz if it is prevented from using the strategic Persian Gulf waterway.