Oil tanker attacks echo Persian Gulf's 1980s 'Tanker War'
The attacks are also echoes of the past: 30 years ago, the U.S. Navy and Iran were entangled in a similarly shadowy conflict, called the "Tanker War."
While the current tensions are nowhere near the damage done then, it underscores how dangerous the situation can become.
The so-called "Tanker War" involved American naval ships escorting reflagged Kuwaiti oil tankers through the Persian Gulf and the strait after Iranian mines damaged vessels in the region. It culminated in a one-day naval battle between Washington and Tehran, and also saw America accidentally shoot down an Iranian passenger jet, killing 290 people.