The Tension Between America and Iran, Explained

“Their silence over the past few days is very telling that their bark was bigger than their bite,” Dr. Vakil said. “By no means does the region want to absorb the pain of a conflict with Iran.”

The tensions between Iran and the United States stretch back decades, well predating the Trump administration. The most dangerous flash point has long been the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow waterway that connects the Persian Gulf to the rest of the world.

It is the conduit for about 40 percent of the world’s oil tanker traffic, and has been the recurrent backdrop of military bluster.

Iran warned it could close the strait during its war with Iraq, which lasted from 1980 to 1988, and has periodically threatened to mine the waterway since. The

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