By SETH J. FRANTZMAN
Iran said that it seized another ship on Sunday – an oil tanker it accused of smuggling oil from Iraq. Tehran has also mocked America’s attempt to create an international coalition to protect shipping in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz. In short, Iran’s message is: We can do whatever we want in our Gulf and Strait.
This is a far cry from the early days of May when the US warned Tehran against any provocations and threatened “unrelenting force.” Instead Washington has been cautious in its response. First came the sabotage of four tankers in May 12 and then the attack on two more on June 13, rockets fired near US bases in Iraq in mid-June, the downing of the US drone on June 20, harassment of a British oil tanker on July 11, capture of the tanker Riah on July 13 and the capture of a British tanker on July 19, as well as the recent seizing of another tanker on August 4.
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