Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • This is the Stena Impero, a British oil tanker traveling through the Persian Gulf.

  • On July 19th 2019, it was on its way to Saudi Arabia when it received a

  • radio message from Iranian naval forces.

  • Later, the Stena Impero was dramatically boarded and seized.

  • Using speed boats and helicopters Iran's Revolutionary Guard

  • took control of the British tanker and took it to an Iranian port.

  • The Stena Impero isn't alone. Several oil tankers have run into trouble in recent months.

  • Already troubled waters were further roiled with attacks on two oil tankers.

  • Three Iranian vessels tried to block a British tanker. An unnamed US official is

  • blaming Iran for explosions on four ships.

  • Iran declared it has seized an Iraqi oil tanker. Plot these incidents on a map and

  • you'll see them centered around this narrow ocean passagethe Strait of Hormuz.

  • Dozens of oil tankers pass through here daily each carrying up to

  • 84 million gallons of oil. This flow of oil represents 20% of the world's supply.

  • A former Iranian prime minister even referred to this passage as the jugular

  • of the global economy. But these ships and this narrow strip of ocean are

  • caught in the middle of a struggle – a struggle between the U.S. and Iran.

  • One that has the potential to escalate and to choke the global economy in the process.

  • The strait of hormuz lies between Iran and Oman. It links the Persian Gulf to

  • the Gulf of Oman which eventually leads to the Arabian Sea. At its narrowest the

  • strait is less than 34 kilometers wide and oil tankers that pass through here

  • travel on a pair of shipping lanes each three kilometers wide. Most of these

  • ships carry petroleum products from the Middle East to the rest of the world

  • and in particular to Asia. But an attack on any tanker here regardless of

  • destination can affect the price of oil everywhere.

  • That's because oil is a globally traded product. A drop in supply from the Gulf

  • can drive up prices from other sources around the world. After two recent oil

  • tankers were attacked in the Strait of Hormuz the price of oil from the

  • North Sea jumped nearly $2 per barrel. It's because of this strategic

  • importance that the Strait of Hormuz has become a place where long simmering

  • tensions between the u.s. and Iran are playing out. And it all began with the

  • Tanker War.

  • Saddam Hussein ordered his troops across the Iranian frontier after

  • a series of border skirmishes. War broke out in the Middle East in 1980 after

  • Iraq invaded Iran. The US helped Iraq and its campaign against Iran by providing

  • military intelligence behind the scenes. When Iraq wasn't able to topple Iranian

  • forces over land it turned its attention elsewhere. Missiles against tankers

  • are the weapons that both sides are using to try and break the stalemate in their war

  • on land. Iraq moved to cut off Iran's main export. It began attacking tankers

  • carrying oil from Iranian ports in what became known as the Tanker War.

  • Iran eventually responded by attacking oil tankers moving to and from the

  • Gulf States some of which were supporting Iraq. But with Iraq being aided by the West

  • Iran had to get creative. It turned to sea mines and planted them around the

  • Strait of Hormuz. For the first time Iran was using the disruption of oil moving

  • through Hormuz as a weapon. But these disruptions finally drew the u.s.

  • directly into the conflict.

  • In 1987 the u.s. stepped in to protect

  • the flow of oil for itself and its allies by escorting tankers.

  • Tensions between the two countries began to escalate. In 1988 a u.s. naval ship

  • struck an Iranian mine injuring US sailors on board. A couple months later a

  • u.s. warship mistook an Iranian passenger aircraft for a fighter jet and

  • shot it down over the Strait of Hormuz killing all 290 passengers.

  • Ronald Reagan has issued a statement deeply regretting the loss of life in what he calls a terrible human tragedy.

  • The iran-iraq war ended in August 1988 but conflict between the

  • u.s. and Iran continued for decades and tensions and distrust grew on both sides.

  • And a major source of that distrust was Iran's nuclear program.

  • By 2002 suspicions were growing in the u.s. around Iran's intentions.

  • By now Iran was fighting proxy wars around the Middle East and the u.s. feared an

  • Iranian nuclear weapon could fall into the wrong hands.

  • Iran and their terrorist allies constitute an axis of evil. By seeking

  • weapons of mass destruction these regimes pose a grave and growing danger.

  • There were reports that Iran had expansive and undisclosed nuclear

  • facilities like this one in Natanz and this facility in Arak. Finally in 2011 a

  • UN report revealed that Iran has carried out activities relevant to the

  • development of a nuclear explosive device. The mutual distrust between the

  • u.s. and Iran boiled over. They have not found even one gram of uranium to be

  • diverted to military purposes. Iran has refused to satisfy legitimate concerns

  • about the nature of its nuclear program. The u.s. announced sweeping sanctions

  • against Iran. President Obama signed an executive order that for the first time

  • specifically targets Iran's petrochemical industry. Iran's oil

  • exports dropped dramatically and with it Iran's income. The country's economy

  • began to shrink for the first time in nearly a decade.

  • To fight back Iran used the only leverage it hadthe Strait of Hormuz.

  • Iran threatened to close the passage saying not a drop of oil will pass

  • through the Strait of Hormuz if Iranian oil is sanctioned. And to back

  • its threat Iran's navy conducted a ten day show of force in the strait.

  • US naval forces followed suit warning Iran that closing the strait

  • would not be tolerated. The threats are being ramped up over a vital oil

  • shipping route. The chief of US Naval Operations has told Al Jazeera his Navy

  • is capable of securing the Strait of Hormuz should it need to. u.s. Navy

  • and the Coast Guard ships two close encounters just last week. The Strait of

  • Hormuz was once again a tense conflict zone between Iran and the US but this

  • time the two countries reached a diplomatic solution. Today after two

  • years of negotiations the United States together with our international partners has

  • achieved something that decades of animosity has not — a comprehensive

  • long-term deal with Iran that will prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

  • In 2015 Iran agreed to scale back its nuclear program and to allow its

  • nuclear facilities to be monitored in exchange for sanctions relief.

  • With sanctions lifted Iran's oil exports picked back up and Iran's economy showed

  • signs of recovering until 2018. I am announcing today that the

  • United States will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal. The fact is this was a

  • horrible one-sided deal that should have never ever been made. Claiming the

  • original deal with Iran didn't go far enough in addressing Iran's terrorist

  • proxy groups president Trump abandoned the nuclear deal with Iran and put

  • sanctions back in place. The ongoing conflict between the two countries has

  • turned Hormuz into a flashpoint once again with tensions at levels not seen

  • since the Tanker War. Tensions with Iran have reached a boiling point.

  • Irantrouble nothing but trouble. The United States is not interested in

  • diplomacy period. President Trump says the military was quote cocked and loaded

  • to carry out airstrikes against Iran. Iran hopes that disrupting the passage

  • of these international tankers will put pressure on countries to stick with the

  • nuclear deal while also putting pressure on the u.s. to lift sanctions.

  • But without the direct diplomatic contact between the u.s. and Iran each run-in

  • has the risk of escalating into war one that could disrupt the jugular of the global economy in the process.

  • [Music]

This is the Stena Impero, a British oil tanker traveling through the Persian Gulf.

Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

B2 Vox iran strait oil iranian nuclear

Why the US and Iran are fighting over this tiny waterway

  • 18 1
    林宜悉 posted on 2020/08/18
Video vocabulary