As Iran and the United States face off in the Gulf of Oman, the risk may not be just at sea, but in Tehran and Washington, where both Iranian and U.S. hard-liners are seizing on the moment for political advantage.

The attacks last week on two tankers in the gulf, instantly attributed to Iran by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and then President Donald Trump, emboldens the hard-liners in both countries, each able to argue their longtime adversary is itching for war.

In the White House, Pompeo and the national security adviser, John Bolton, were driving a policy of maximum

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