The United States is sending additional military assets to waterways in the Middle East to deter malicious and destabilizing behavior by Iran.
“In response to a number of recent alarming events in the Strait of Hormuz, the Secretary of Defense has ordered the deployment of the destroyer USS Thomas Hudner, F-35 fighters and F-16 fighters to the U.S. Central Command Area of Responsibility to defend U.S. interests and safeguard freedom of navigation in the area,” said Deputy Pentagon Spokesperson Sabrina Singh.
Most recently on July 5, the Iranian Navy attempted to illegally seize two merchant ships in the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman. “One attempt included an Iranian Navy ship firing upon the merchant vessel,” noted Spokesperson Singh. In both cases, the Iranian vessels left the scene when the USS McFaul, a guided missile destroyer, arrived on the scene. The two merchant vessels were able to continue their journeys.
Other ships have not been as fortunate. Earlier this year, Iran seized two oil tankers in less than a week. The U.S. Naval Forces Central Command noted that since 2021, “Iran has harassed, attacked or seized nearly 20 internationally flagged merchant vessels, presenting a clear threat to regional maritime security and the global economy.”
The United States has a number of assets already in the region to help secure vital waterways, including A-10 aircraft. As U.S. National Security Council Coordinator John Kirby said, the additional assets are being deployed because of “an increased level of activity” in Iranian attacks. “They have become more bellicose, more active, and more dangerous to peaceful maritime shipping in the Gulf region,” he said. “The Secretary of Defense wants to make sure, as he should, that we’ve got the proper capabilities and assets, readiness in place to deal with that.”
Pentagon Deputy Spokesperson Singh declared, “We call upon Iran to immediately cease these destabilizing actions that threaten the free flow of commerce through this strategic waterway, of which the world depends on for more than one fifth of the world’s oil supply.”