With allegations and counter-allegations, with more denials and desperate attempts at getting each party to admit their parts, the US-Iran oil tanker tensions kept on getting fueled.
The Strait of Hormuz has been at the heart of regional tensions for decades. Recent attacks on the narrow waterway have fueled tensions between longtime foes Iran and the United States.
Tensions spiked between Tehran and Washington after Iran downed a US military drone that it said was flying over one of its southern provinces on the Gulf. Washington said the drone was shot down over international waters.
Let’s have a look at some key dates -
May 8, 2018
Trump announced he is pulling out of the nuclear deal with Iran, adding he will initiate new sanctions.
“Any nation that helps Iran in its quest for nuclear weapons could also be strongly sanctioned by the United States,” announced Trump.
NOVEMBER 5, 2018
The United States officially reimposed all sanctions lifted under the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
Rouhani vowed to continue oil exports, saying Iran will "proudly break the unjust sanctions."
APRIL 8, 2019
Trump announced the United States will formally designate Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a Foreign Terrorist Organization
Some officials in the administration opposed this stand over concerns regarding potential risks to US troops in the Middle East.
According to US officials, the US launched two cyber-attacks on Iran.
One of the attacks was a retaliatory cyber strike against an Iranian spy group.
The other attack was on an Iranian proxy group with forces in Iraq, Syria and inside Iran in the days after Iran shot down a US drone.
JUNE 20, 2019
Iran shot down a United States military drone.
Iran's Revolutionary Guard claimed that the drone was shot down after it entered the country's territory, while the US claims the drone was shot down in international airspace.
JUNE 24, 2019
Trump announced new sanctions against Iran in part to retaliate after the downing of a US drone the previous week.
The sanctions introduced punitive measures set to target Iran's Supreme Leader, military officials and its top diplomat - Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.
JULY 1, 2019
Javad announced that Iran's stockpiles of enriched low-grade uranium have exceeded the 300-kilogram limit set in a landmark 2015 nuclear deal.
JULY 4, 2019
The Iranian oil-carrying vessel Grace 1 got seized by British authorities near Gibraltar.
Gibraltar's territorial authorities had reason to believe the ship was "carrying its shipment of crude oil to the Baniyas Refinery in Syria".
This violated the laws of European Union sanctions, as said in a statement.
Iran has called the act "piracy."
JULY 10, 2019
According to information from two US officials with direct knowledge of the incident, armed Iranian boats tried unsuccessfully to impede the passage of a British oil tanker in the Persian Gulf.
JULY 14, 2019
Over the weekend, Iran seized an oil tanker that it claimed was carrying 1 million liters of "smuggled fuel," according to state news agency Press TV.
JULY 18, 2019
US officials said that the US Navy destroyed an Iranian drone using electronic jamming, in a defensive action after it came too close to the naval ship USS Boxer took.
However, Iranian officials denied that any of their drones have been downed.
JULY 19, 2019
Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) announced that its navy has captured the British-flagged oil tanker, Stena Impero.
The group accused the British tanker of "violating international regulations."
A second tanker, the Liberian flagged MV Mesdar, was also seized, as per information given by an official to CNN.