Shortly after Iran reported that it had impounded a mysterious foreign “smuggling” ship, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that an American warship had downed an Iranian military drone. The acts raise tensions in a region where on June 20 Iran shot down a Pentagon drone — nearly sparking U.S. retaliation. Iran, which wouldn’t confirm losing an unmanned aircraft, has threatened to choke Persian Gulf shipping if its 2015 sanctions-lifting nuclear agreement isn’t salvaged.
Is this time different? The rhetoric isn’t as bellicose, with Iran’s foreign minister suggesting steps to defuse the crisis, while both sides referred to the seized ship and downed drone as “small.”