US-Iran tensions: A timeline of key events
What is the Strait of Hormuz, and why is it so important to the global oil market?
President Trump piled sanctions on Iran after military officials said the country downed an unmanned U.S. drone last week. The U.S. response comes after the White House and Pentagon were considering military strikes against the regime – but called them off once Trump learned up to 150 Iranians could be killed.
Tensions between the U.S. and Iran have been brewing since Trump withdrew from the Iran Nuclear Deal on May 8, 2018. Punishing sanctions have been levied against Iran’s economy in the months since.
Here’s a timeline of what led to the downing of the drone and the U.S. response.
The U.S. designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a division of the Iranian military, a foreign terrorist organization. It was the first time the U.S. placed part of a foreign government under such a classification. Iran retaliated by designating the U.S. military as terrorist and labeling the U.S. a "supporter of terrorism."
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)
The U.S. ended waivers that allow other countries to import Iranian oil in an effort to reduce its oil exports to zero and put the regime under unprecedented economic pressure. Countries that had been issued waivers, like China, Japan, India and others, would face U.S. sanctions if they continued to import oil from Iran.
White House national security adviser John Bolton announced the U.S. was deploying a U.S. aircraft carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the Middle East following “clear indications” that Iranian and Iranian proxy forces were preparing for a possible attack on American troops in the region.
Bolton reiterated that the U.S. is not seeking war with Iran, “but we are fully prepared to respond to any attack, whether by proxy, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or regular Iranian forces.”