The newly heightened tensions between the two countries began in earnest in 2018, when the US government unilaterally withdrew from the landmark Iran nuclear deal signed in 2015. In that deal, Iran agreed to abandon its pursuit of a nuclear weapon in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. The Trump administration has now reinstated and extended those sanctions. While Iran has threatened to again ramp up its efforts to build a nuclear weapon in response, it has so far adhered to the original deal.

The US blames Iran for apparent attacks on commercial oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. No one was killed in those attacks and Tehran has denied any involvement. It did, however, take full responsibility for shooting down the Global Hawk drone.

📬 Sign up for the Daily Brief

Our free, fast, and fun briefing on the global economy, delivered every weekday morning.