When Iranian President Hassan Rouhani took office at the beginning of August, hopes were cautiously raised that Iran and the United States could improve their dismal relationship of mistrust, denunciations and threats. So far, no concrete steps have been taken, but the nations might benefit if they literally tested the waters in the Persian Gulf and the North Arabian Sea to ease tensions.
U.S. and Iranian warships have faced off for more than three decades in the two strategically located bodies of water, flexing their naval muscles and raising fears that a confrontation could escalate into open warfare. While no sustained naval hostilities have broken out in these waters, there have been violent close calls.
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This op-ed was first published in DefenseOne on September 9, 2013