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2-min read

Turbulent Relationship Between Iran and the West: Tracing the Flashpoints

The tension started when United States withdrew from a nuclear accord between Iran and global powers in 2018 and stepped up sanctions on Tehran, ends waivers that had allowed eight countries to continue buying Iranian crude.

Reuters

Updated:July 22, 2019, 10:34 AM IST
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Turbulent Relationship Between Iran and the West: Tracing the Flashpoints
Undated handout photograph shows the Stena Impero, a British-flagged vessel owned by Stena Bulk, at an undisclosed location. (Reuters)
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Tehran: Tensions between Iran and the West have escalated since US sanctions on Iranian oil exports took full effect in May and British naval forces seized an Iranian supertanker.

Below is a timeline of recent incidents:

May 2 - The United States, which withdrew from a nuclear accord between Iran and global powers in 2018 and stepped up sanctions on Tehran, ends waivers that had allowed eight countries - China, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey - to continue buying Iranian crude.

May 5 - The United States says it is deploying an aircraft carrier strike group and bombers to the Middle East, citing threats from Iran.

May 8 - Iran announces it will relax some curbs on its nuclear programme, stopping short of violating its 2015 deal with world powers but threatening more action if countries do not shield it from US sanctions.

May 10 - The US Maritime Administration warns of possible Iranian attacks on shipping in the Gulf.

May 12 - Four ships, including two Saudi oil tankers, are attacked in the Gulf just outside the Strait of Hormuz, a major oil shipping route. US officials pin the blame on Iran, a charge Tehran denies.

June 13 - Two tankers are attacked south of the Strait of Hormuz. Washington again blames Iran and Tehran denies any role.

June 20 - Iran shoots down an unmanned US surveillance drone.

July 4 - Royal Marines seize Iranian supertanker Grace 1 near Gibraltar on suspicion of violating European Union sanctions on Syria.

July 5 - An Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander threatens to seize a British ship unless the Grace 1 is released.

July 7 - Iran says it will boost uranium enrichment above a cap set under the 2015 nuclear deal and will reduce its commitments to the pact, drawing a warning from US President Donald Trump and expressions of concern from Germany, France and Britain.

July 10 - Royal Navy frigate HMS Montrose issues verbal warnings and aims its guns at boats believed to belong to Iranian Revolutionary Guards which approached BP oil tanker British Heritage at the northern entrance of the Strait of Hormuz.

July 18 - The United States says USS Boxer "destroyed" an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz after it threatened the US Navy ship but Iran denies it has lost a drone.

July 19 - Gibraltar extends detention of tanker Grace 1 by one month.

July 19 - Iran seizes British-operated oil tankers Stena Impero and Mesdar, the latter released after receiving a warning from Iranian authorities.

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