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The West will struggle to contain the escalating crisis in the Gulf

TOPSHOT-GULF-SHIPPING-OIL-US-IRAN-JAPAN-NORWAY-DIPLOMACY 

Iran's hardline government sees confrontation as a means of dividing their opponents

The world has got so used to the war of words between Washington and Tehran that the risk of deadly conflict was largely discounted. Or at least it was until yesterday, when President Trump accused Iran’s Revolutionary Guards of being behind the attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf over the last month. Suddenly the political temperature has shot up. 

It is easy to see how this crisis could spiral out of control. If hardliners in Iran calculate that America would never risk trying to invade a well-armed country with three times the population of hornets’ nests like Iraq and Afghanistan, they could keep upping...

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