The Strait of Hormuz is back in focus. One of the world’s most important oil arteries, the narrow shipping lane between Iran and Oman links the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Oman and Arabian Sea. The route enables producers in the Middle East to ship oil on tankers to consumers in Asia, Europe and North America.

The strait has been at the heart of regional tensions for decades and Iran has made repeated threats to shut off access in retaliation for foreign aggression against it. Now it has recaptured the attention of the global energy, shipping and diplomatic communities.

Saudi Arabia said May 13 that two Saudi oil tankers were among several vessels targeted in a “sabotage attack” off the coast of the UAE. Then two of the kingdom’s oil pumping stations along a crucial pipeline, one of the routes Saudi Arabia uses to send oil abroad without using the Strait of Hormuz, were targeted in a drone attack.

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