Trump calls off Iran strike

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4:53 a.m. ET, June 21, 2019

Airlines avoiding the region

CNN’s Samantha Beech in Atlanta and Charles Riley of CNN Business.

The tense situation is forcing some airlines to suspend flights over the region.

Australian airline Qantas said Friday it was adjusting its flight paths over the Middle East to avoid the Strait of Hormuz and Gulf of Oman until further notice.

A spokesperson said the changes will affect flights between Australia and London, but added that "the impact on flying time will be negligible.”

Quantas has changed some flying routes to avoid the area.
Quantas has changed some flying routes to avoid the area. Photo: Courtesy Qantas

Dutch carrier KLM also announced changes to its flights over the region following the shooting down of a US drone Thursday.

The US Federal Aviation Administration has put restrictions on US airlines flying over the Gulf of Oman, amid the increased political tensions in the region.

4:51 a.m. ET, June 21, 2019

Trump downplays tensions after drone shot down

From CNN's Kevin Liptak and Nicole Gaouette

President Donald Trump downplayed the dramatic escalation in tensions with Iran Thursday, after the downing of a US drone near the Persian Gulf sparked fears that tensions with Tehran could spill over into confrontation.

Calling the shootdown "a new wrinkle, a new fly in the ointment," Trump told reporters in the Oval Office he finds it "hard to believe it was intentional."

Earlier in the day, Trump tweeted that "Iran made a very big mistake," as he and his national security officials huddled to weigh possible responses. Some lawmakers called for restraint and others warned Iran should prepare for "severe pain." Asked if the US would respond or go to war, Trump told reporters: "You'll find out."

5:48 a.m. ET, June 21, 2019

Why the Strait of Hormuz is so important

By Chris Isidore, CNN Business

The Strait of Hormuz has been the site of increasing tensions in recent weeks.

The channel, which is only 21 miles wide at its narrowest point, links the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf.

If the Strait were to be closed because of the threat of ongoing attacks, it would be a massive blow to the world's economy.

Image: Google Maps
Image: Google Maps

Passage through the strait is the only way to move oil from Persian Gulf producers to the world's oceans, and tensions in the area often affect oil prices.

The Strait is actually even narrower than its 21-mile width suggests. The shipping channels that can handle massive supertankers are only two miles wide heading in and out of the Gulf, forcing ships to pass through Iranian and Omani territorial waters.

About 22.5 million barrels of oil a day have passed through the Strait of Hormuz on average since the start of 2018, according to Vortexa, an energy analytics firm. That's roughly 24% of daily global oil production.