U.S. Puts Iran on Notice and Weighs Response to Attack on Oil Tankers
President Trump and Iranian leaders traded accusations Friday over who was responsible for fiery explosions that crippled two oil tankers off Iran’s coast, but both sides appeared cautious not to go beyond a war of words, at least for now, to avoid a direct military confrontation.
After blaming Iran hours after what appeared to be coordinated attacks on a Japanese and a Norwegian tanker on Thursday, the Trump administration considered options Friday but showed no immediate sign of responding.
Options include providing armed escorts to vessels navigating vulnerable shipping lanes of the Strait of Hormuz, reflagging tankers of friendly nations with the U.S. flag to entitle them to U.S. naval protection, and adding more sanctions to what is already a long blacklist.
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said the Pentagon was making plans for possible military action in case of more attacks or efforts to close the Strait of Hormuz, the strategic chokepoint through which much of the world’s oil passes.
“We obviously need to make contingency plans should the situation deteriorate,” Shanahan told reporters.