The Persian Gulf and the strait of Hormuz are tense. The neighboring states including Iran are in a state of heightened tension after Iran downed a US unmanned drone costing $130 million with a surface to air missile. President Trump termed the Iranian action a " big mistake." The plane was on a surveillance mission and the Americans claim it was in international air space while Iran has denied the charge. They claimed the unmanned drone had entered its air space. An American reaction was on the cards. The New York Times reported that the president had initially approved attacks on a handful of Iranian targets, like radar and missile batteries but abruptly called them off.

Fitting response

The American aim was to give a fitting response to the Iranian action of shooting down an unarmed drone. Officials have said that Trump who recently toasted Modi on his win, had initially approved attacks on Iranian military installations but then the action was abruptly called off. The decision to pull back from the brink at the last moment has not been clarified. As late as 7 PM on Thursday, officials were expecting the attack to be mounted after a day of escalating tension.

The attack was abruptly canceled and a stand down given to the participating aircraft. It must be remembered that on two earlier occasions Trump ordered attacks in Syria in 2017 and 2018 in response to allegations of the use of banned nerve gas in bombings.

No explanation is forthcoming why this time the President called off the attack. No comment has come from the administration.

The air strike was to have taken place at first light on Friday and it's a mystery why it was called off. Perhaps it may still take place at a later date and time but the surgical effect in the aftermath of the shooting of the drone would not be there.

Perhaps there was a split among the advisors of the president. As per reports, Mike Pompeo, secretary of state and National Security Advisor John Bolton, as well as the CIA Director Gina Haspel were in favor of a strike but top officials in the Pentagon had advised caution in the matter.

Possibly, the president weighed all the pros and cons of the strike and decided to pull back the attack.

This was done at the last moment and many are confused about why this happened. has reported that the airplanes were in the air and the boats were in position, but they were asked to retire.

Iran in the news

Iran is in the news for other reasons as well. The country is accused of attacks on tankers in the Gulf. The Iranians have denied the attacks but the USA has published "evidence" including video clips of Iranian complicity. Many people will take this evidence with a pinch of salt after the claim of WMD was made by the then Secretary of State Colin Powell before going to war in Iraq.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the use of US force against Iran will be a "disaster."