Timeline: How tension escalated between US, Iran

George Petras
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Timeline: How tension escalated between US, Iran

timeline of US-Iran tension

July 25, 2015

Iran, the U.S. and other nations approve a deal in which Iran agrees to shift its nuclear program from weapons production to peaceful commercial use for 10 years. Iran allows international inspectors on its nuclear weapons sites.

In exchange, the U.S. and U.N. Security Council lifts energy, trade, technology and financial sanctions against Iran.

The pact is considered an achievement by President Barack Obama. However, the deal is an executive agreement, not a treaty, which means it isn’t formally approved by Congress. Republicans oppose the deal and question its legality.

October 2016

Presidential candidate and deal critic Donald Trump says Iran should write the U.S. a thank-you letter for “the stupidest deal of all time.” Trump says U.S. will withdraw from the deal if he’s elected.

Nov. 6, 2016

Trump is elected president.

May 8, 2018

Trump says U.S. will withdraw from Iran deal. Iran, France, Britain and Germany say they will stay in the pact.

Aug. 6, 2018

The U.S. reimposes first round of economic sanctions against Iran.

Sept. 5, 2018

Iran sets deadline for UK, France, Germany, Russia and China to come up with plan allowing Iran to engage in international trade. Absent such a plan, Iran says it will take more unspecified action regarding the nuclear deal.

Nov. 5, 2018

The U.S. reimposes second round of sanctions on Iran’s energy, financial, shipping and shipbuilding industries.

April 8, 2019

Trump says he will designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards as a foreign terrorist organization. The Pentagon opposes the change, saying it increases possibility of retaliation against American military and intelligence personnel.

April 22, 2019

Trump says U.S. will end exemptions on sanctions against countries buying oil from Iran, putting more pressure on Iran’s economy.

May 5, 2019

John Bolton, National Security advisor, says the U.S. will send an aircraft carrier strike force and Air Force bombers to the Middle East. The deployment shows Iran that “any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force.”

May 8, 2019

In retaliation for U.S. withdrawing from the 2015 deal, Iran says it will increase its production of enriched uranium and heavy water.

May 13, 2019

Four oil tankers — two from Saudi Arabia, one from the United Arab Emirates and one from Norway — are attacked in the Persian Gulf. The U.S. says Iran is behind the attacks.

May 24, 2019

Declaring Iranian threats a national security emergency, Trump administration says it will bypass Congress’s objections to push through weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Jordan.

June 13, 2019

Two oil tankers — one from Norway, the other from Japan — are attacked in the Gulf of Oman. The U.S. blames Iran, which denies responsibility.

June 17, 2019

Iran says it will exceed the limit of stockpiled uranium set in the 2015 nuclear agreement by June 27. The U.S. says it will send additional 1,000 troops to Middle East as tensions increase.

June 19, 2019

Iran shoots down a U.S. surveillance drone it says violated Iranian airspace. The U.S. Central Command says the aircraft was in international territory.

June 20, 2019

Trump orders retaliatory attacks against Iran but cancels the strikes shortly before they are launched. 

June 24, 2019

Trump imposes more sanctions against Iran.

July 1, 2019

Iran says it’s exceeded the amount of low-enriched uranium it was allowed to build under the 2015 agreement.

July 3, 2019

Iran says it will continue to stockpile enriched uranium.

July 4, 2019

Gibraltar and British marines seize the Iranian oil tanker Grace 1 at the request of the U.S. The ship is suspected of illegally transporting oil to Syria.

July 18, 2019

Trump says a U.S. Navy vessel has shot down an Iranian drone that came within 1,000 of the ship.

July 20, 2019

Iran seizes the British-owned oil tanker Stena Impero near the Strait of Hormuz.

July 22, 2019

Iran says it’s arrested 17 Iranians and charged them with spying for the U.S.

News reports say some of the Iranians have been executed. Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo say the report is false. Pompeo says “the Iranian regime has a long history of lying.”

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: US-Iran tension