Sunday, September 24, 2023

US considers deploying forces to commercial vessels in Persian Gulf

The United States is weighing an unprecedented step to deploy troops to commercial vessels in the Persian Gulf after Iran’s seizure of tankers in the area. Tehran says Iranian naval forces have so far seized 35 ships for violating maritime laws in the waters off the Persian Gulf.

The US is considering the move against the backdrop of stalled talks to revive the 2015 nuclear deal.

Washington has already boosted its military presence in the Persian Gulf by sending F-35 fighter jets and a marine expeditionary force to the region.

The additional 2,500 marines could provide the bulk of manpower for future deployments to commercial vessels.

The Associated Press cited five unnamed US officials who stressed that no final decision has been made. The US also needs to consult with its Persian Gulf Arab allies and companies that own vessels in the region about deployments.

Iran has repeatedly condemned the US for “warmongering” and escalating tensions with its regular military deployments in the region.

In recent months, Iranian naval forces have impounded several ships off the country’s southern coast for their breaches of shipping safety law, with the US claiming that the moves are “illegal” and “endanger” shipping safety.

Tehran dismisses the claims as baseless, stressing the vessel seizures are in fact meant to consolidate the maritime law.

Iran says the US is the primary source of insecurity in West Asia and Washington remains responsible for the instability in the region as long as its wrong and crisis-making policies are not rectified. Tehran has repeatedly stressed that the responsibility to ensure the Persian Gulf security and stability lies with the regional states without a need for foreign naval forces.

In mid-July, Iran urged the United States to refrain from any “provocative” moves in the region, especially close to the country’s borders, stressing that Tehran reserves the right to take “deterrent measures” under international law.

Speaking during a weekly press conference, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said that the US government’s role regarding the issue of regional security has never been peaceful and constructive.

“Iran monitors with sensitivity and accuracy any illegal and unconstructive act that affects the security of the region, and it will … pay special attention to any provocative and illegal moves, especially near its borders,” he added.

Kanaani also warned that the Islamic Republic will use its “inalienable rights” in response to the US moves.

Iran “reserves the right to take due deterrent measures under international law, rules and regulations given the capability of its Armed Forces in protecting the security of borders, as well as that of navigation and aviation in the Persian Gulf region,” he stressed.


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