Conflict in the Persian Gulf

Published: 1987
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U.S. President Ronald Reagan (L) meets with Senate Majority leader Robert Byrd (D, WV) and other congressional leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House on June 30, 1987 on his policy in the Persian Gulf. (UPI Photo/Doug Mills/Files)

Ken Herrera: Some observers will say Iran-Contra was the logical result of America’s problems in the Middle East during 1987, specifically problems in the Persian Gulf.

UPI Radio’s Tom Rivers looks at that 1987 hotspot …

Tom Rivers: "In March, the Reagan Administration announced its decision to grant protection to Kuwaiti oil tankers flying the American flag in the Gulf. One-sixth of the West's oil passes through the strategic waterway. The American presence represents the largest amassed Naval strength since the Vietnam War. Following the U.S. move, vessels were deployed from Belgium, Holland, France, Italy and Britain.

"The potential danger looming in the region showed its face on May 17th, when an Iraqi fighter hit the USS Stark in a case of mistaken identity; 37 Americans lost their lives in the attack.

"The tanker war dragged on. On September 11th, an Iranian vessel was captured while laying mines. On October 19th, U.S. forces destroyed an oil platform in response to ongoing aggression by Tehran.

"Potential loss of American lives and the high financial costs of the operation continue, and President Reagan’s position will likely remain firm.

President Ronald Reagan: "'Most Americans today know the price of freedom in this uneasy world. They know that to retreat or withdraw would only repeat the improvident mistakes of the past and hand final victory to those who seek war, who make war.'"

Tom Rivers: "This is Tom Rivers."