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Australia should back up US pressure on Iran with sanctions of its own

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Forty years ago this year, the revolutionary Islamist regime in Iran held US embassy personnel hostage. Today, they are threatening to take the world hostage by menacing the free passage of oil through the strategic Strait of Hormuz, a natural maritime bottleneck though which around 30 per cent of the world's sea-borne crude oil passes.

An oil tanker is on fire in the Sea of Oman. A series of attacks on oil tankers near the Persian Gulf has ratcheted up tensions between the US and Iran . Credit:ISNA

This was the clear massage of the attacks on two foreign oil tankers near the Strait in recent days and the four tankers sabotaged last month, almost certainly by Iran.

US President Donald Trump has actually shown considerable self-control in the face of increasing Iranian provocations. Having every right to respond militarily to Iran's downing of a US drone over the Gulf of Oman on Thursday, the White House apparently decided to demonstrate strength through restraint by standing down a retaliatory strike at the last moment. Instead, he decided to rely on strengthened sanctions pressure and an alleged cyber-strike on the Iranian Revolutionary Guards' command and control systems, to curb Iranian behaviour.

Trump's decision to scrub........

© Brisbane Times