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Supertanker Grace 1, which has been seized by Britain, off the coast of Gibraltar on July 6, 2019. Photo: Jorge Guerrero/AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. suspects Iran has seized a small oil tanker from the United Arab Emirates, AP reported Tuesday.

Why it matters: Tensions between Iran and the U.S. — and Tehran and Washington's allies — are unfolding in the Strait of Hormuz. The U.S. says it is moving forward with plans to build an international military coalition to protect waters around Iran and Yemen, which includes the straight. President Trump said last month the U.S. was "cocked & loaded" to strike Iran.

The state of play: Iran has not commented on the UAE tanker's reported seizure. The vessel "entered Iranian waters and turned off its tracker" 2 days ago, according to AP.

  • The tanker was traveling through the Strait of Hormuz, which provides passage to about one-fifth of the world’s oil every day.
  • The United Kingdom seized an Iranian oil tanker at the start of July, "on suspicion it was breaking European sanctions by taking oil to Syria," per CNBC.
  • The U.K. said last week 3 Iranian boats tried to seize a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz before a British warship intervened.

The bottom line: Iran has "threatened to stop oil tankers passing through the strait ... if it cannot sell its own oil abroad," per AP.

Go deeper: How Trump and Tehran came to the brink of war

Go deeper

7 mins ago - World

NYT: Biden won't immediately remove U.S. tariffs on China

President-elect Joe Biden during an event in Wilmington, Delaware, on Tuesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump's 25% tariffs imposed on China under the phase one trade deal will remain in place at the start of the new administration, President-elect Biden said in an interview with the New York Times published early Wednesday.

Details: "I'm not going to make any immediate moves, and the same applies to the tariffs," Biden said. He plans to conduct a full review of the current U.S. policy on China and speak with key allies in Asia and Europe to "develop a coherent strategy," he said.

Trump threatens to veto Defense spending bill over social media shield

Photo: Erin Schaff - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted Tuesday a threat to veto a must-pass end-of-year $740 billion bill defense-spending authorization bill unless Congress repeals a federal law that protects social media sites from legal liability.

Why it matters: Trump's attempt to get Congress to end the tech industry protections under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is the latest escalation in his war on tech giants over what he and some other Republicans perceive as bias against conservatives.

The walls close in on Trump

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

With Bill Barr's "Et tu, Brute!" interview with AP, President Trump is watching the walls close in on his claims of fraud, hoaxes and conspiracies.

Why it matters: Trump and his legal team continue to claim election fraud. But the Republican governors of Arizona and Georgia have certified their elections, a loyalist like Barr has weighed in, and lower-ranking officials have taken potshots.