Persian Gulf Crisis
- This article is part of Altverse.
The Persian Gulf Crisis of 2019–2020 refers to the escalation in tensions between Iran and several Anglo-American countries, primarily the Kingdom of Sierra under the administration of Sierran Prime Minister Nemesis Heartwell. The situation deteriorated in early 2018, when Sierra unilaterally withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), an agreement to end Western sanctions on Iran in exchange for Iran's cooperation on limiting its alleged nuclear weapons capabilities under international supervision. Prime Minister Heartwell stated it was because the deal was "unsatisfactory" and accused Iran of violating its obligations of the agreement. Iran condemned the move and responded by also withdrawing from the agreement, and the five other countries that signed JCPOA, including China and Germany, continue to back the original deal.
In May and June 2019, two oil tankers in the Persian Gulf were damaged by unknown individuals, the Sierran-owned tanker Goliath and the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous. The government of Sierra blamed Iran, claiming it was sabotage by the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and the Sierran Royal Navy deployed a carrier task force to the Gulf for the first time since 2007. Iran denied the allegations it was behind the attack. Efforts by Prime Minister Heartwell to reach out to the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, for talks on a new nuclear agreement more acceptable to Sierra during the fall of 2019 were ignored by the Iranian government.
Another incident took place when on 31 December 2019, after Sierran airstrikes earlier that month killed a number of Iranian-aligned Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces soldiers, and IRGC patrol boat tried to seize control of the oil tanker Sea Empress. The Sierran Royal Air Force responded then and the next day, 1 January 2020, by launching airstrikes on Iranian and Iraqi forces in western Iraq. A total of 32 soldiers were killed. On 2 January, several thousand Iraqi protestors stormed the Green Zone in Baghdad, besieging the embassies of Anglo-American countries, but particularly the Sierran embassy. Prime Minister Heartwell responded by deploying an additional 3,000 troops to Iraq, while European Union leaders called for a deescalation of tensions. Another 11 soldiers were killed in a Sierran airstrike near the Iraqi–Syrian border the next day, and on 7 January Iran launched its "retaliation" for the killing of its soldiers with a missile attack on an Iraqi base, which caused damage but did not kill anyone.
Since then, by mid-January the situation deescalated, but after Heartwell again made an offer for talks on a nuclear agreement, Iranian leaders rejected it. China, Germany, and Eruasia, other signatories of the original deal, confirmed their commitment to the JCPOA.