Pentagon sees high risk of ‘unintended conflict' with Iran
[Washington Examiner] U.S. military officials see a high risk of "unintended conflict" with Iran due to rising tensions in the Persian Gulf, according to top Pentagon official.

"The potential for miscalculation is high," John Rood, the undersecretary of defense for policy, said at the Aspen Security Forum. "This kind of friction in a small waterway starts to increase the possibility of unintended conflict."

Iran seized a British-flagged oil tanker on Friday, the latest threat to international shipping in the vital Strait of Hormuz in a standoff that has intensified since early May, when President Trump tightened sanctions on the regime’s oil industry and nuclear program.

"I do worry ‐ either through intention and misunderstanding our resolve, or, through an accident ‐ that we could see the Iranians take some step that would be very concerning," Rood added during a Saturday afternoon question-and-answer session. "That would be a grave mistake on their part that would be ‐ it’s something that we are studiously trying to avoid."

Iranian forces surrounded a British tanker and boarded it from a helicopter one day after U.S. forces downed an Iranian drone that approached to "within a threatening range" of a Navy shipper. The boarding of the British tanker was an apparent reaction to last month’s detention of an Iranian tanker that was reportedly delivering oil to Syria in violation of European Union sanctions.

"It raises very serious questions about the security of British shipping, and indeed international shipping, in the Strait of Hormuz," British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said Saturday.

Iran has targeted several oil tankers in the Persian Gulf since May, as Tehran and Washington jockey for leverage in advance of a prospective negotiation over Iran’s nuclear program in the wake of Trump’s exit from the 2015 nuclear deal.
Posted by: Besoeker 2019-07-21