Iran, Tankers and the Threat of Greater Destruction

Map of Iran

By Steven Ward

Steven R. Ward is a retired intelligence officer and former member of CIA’s senior analytic service who specializes in Iran and the surrounding region. A retired U.S. Army Reserve lieutenant colonel and graduate of the United State Military Academy at West Point, he currently is a contract historian for the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joint History Office. Between 2010 and 2012, he was a CIA Visiting Professor to the US Naval Academy at Annapolis. From 2005 to 2006 he served as the Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East on the National Intelligence Council, and he was a Director for Intelligence Programs on the National Security Council from 1998 to 1999.

New audio of the seizure of a British-flagged tanker indicates the vessel was too far away from help to avoid being forced to change course by Iranian Paramilitary forces last week.  In audio released on Sunday by a maritime security firm, a British officer unsuccessfully demanded freedom to sail through the Strait of Hormuz. 

Ships are getting caught in the middle of the rising tensions between the U.S. and Iran and the latest ongoing incident is casting new and broader perspective on the possibility of a modern-day ‘Tanker War’ in the Gulf.

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