The situation in the Gulf of Oman is tense. The importance of this waterway cannot be underestimated as "30 percent" of the world's oil traverses through this narrow sea, CNN noted. The situation is now at flashpoint after oil tankers were attacked in the Gulf. The US claims that it has proof that the attacks were orchestrated by Iran while Iran has denied the charge. It's a catch-22 situation and the plot could very well spiral out of control.

The Saudi government has said that it considers Iran responsible for the outrage. Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, has articulated the American viewpoint.

CNN reported that he said that a range of options but President Trump does not wish to go to war with Iran. However, military options are being considered. Even the suggestion of war is a strong word and obviously would alarm Iran.

Sanctions and the Iranian economy

The fuse was lit after Donald Trump, withdrew from the nuclear deal with Iran and enforced punitive sanctions on that country. The Americans are out to stifle the Iranian economy and tremendous pressure has been brought to bear on countries like India to stop buying Iranian oil. Though some of the US allies in the EU as well as Russia and China have not withdrawn from the nuclear deal, the American action has begun to have a telling effect on the Iranian economy.

The Washington Post has reported that Trump has raised the ante against Iran for its attacks on the tankers.

Oil tanker attack and tension

The recent attack on the oil tankers has raised tensions in the region. The US has said that it is "unmistakable" that the attacks were carried out by Iran. The Secretary of State has claimed that the US has " lots of data" and "evidence" of the Iranian hand in the episode and the world will eventually see it.

Loggerheads for four decades

The USA and Iran have been at loggerhead for close to four decades since the Shah of Iran was overthrown in an Islamic revolution. The Shah escaped with his life and finally died in Egypt a man who nobody, including the USA, wanted. A flashpoint was reached when Iranian revolutionary guards, contrary to all canons of international law, seized US embassy personnel as hostages in Tehran and the American's under Jimmy Carter were helpless.

This incident has played on the American psyche for four decades and despite President Obama signing the nuclear accord to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, the agreement was always in doubt. Iran continued on its aggressive path and opposed the US and its allies in Syria and Yemen.

It was a matter of time before the US acted and Donald Trump decided to withdraw from the agreement, claiming it was flawed and allowed Iran a window to develop weapons.

Last word

Iran is rattled and looking for a way out but the American resolve is unmistakable and sooner rather than later some strong steps can be expected from the US government. Russia and China, though supporting Iran, are unlikely to physically help Iran which will leave the field free for the USA.