On Friday, the leaders of the US, British and French navies stationed in the Middle East crossed the Strait of Hormuz aboard an American warship. Confirming their unified approach to keeping the important waterway open, and deterring threats, after Iran seized two oil tankers.
Tensions in the Persian Gulf have been volatile since the collapse of the “Iranian nuclear deal” with world powers, in the wake of the United States’ unilateral withdrawal, five years earlier, from the “nuclear deal” of 2015.
And in the very rare joint trip between the three “navy” leaders aboard the “Arleigh Burke” destroyer USS Paul Hamilton, 3 speed boats belonging to the Iranian “Revolutionary Guard” were seen approaching the ship, at some point, according to As reported by the American Associated Press.
Guardsmen on the boats stood with exposed machine guns, while sailors on the Paul Hamilton stood close by with their loaded machine guns, while others took photographs and videos of the ships.
While the guards maintained a distance between the destroyer “Paul Hamilton” and the passing British frigate “HMS Lancaster”, their presence showed the extent of the tense passage of ships in the Strait of Hormuz. The narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf, through which one-fifth of the world’s oil supplies pass.
Vice Admiral Brad Cooper, who oversees the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet in the Middle East, told The Associated Press that Iran “has seized or attacked 15 ships over the past two years, including 8 seizures, and 7 attacks, so the shipping industry is aware Exactly what the security situation in the region looks like, and we have the ability to positively influence this influence, and this is what we are doing now.
Cooper explained that the joint trip in the strait aboard the destroyer “Paul Hamilton” is part of that batch. With the aim of allowing more coalition ships to pass through the strait on a regular basis, he added, “The volume of trade that flows through the Strait of Hormuz is very important to the world’s economy.”
He pointed out that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard boats, on Friday, came within 1,000 yards (915 meters) of the destroyer, “Paul Hamilton”, which is based in San Diego.
The United States has considered securing the waterways of the Middle East, particularly the Strait of Hormuz, essential since President Jimmy Carter’s 1980 speech, in which he pledged to use military force to protect American interests in the broader Persian Gulf.
Whereas Carter’s theory then centered on the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan, the United States’ pledge to allow “freedom of Middle East oil” now urges it to attack Iran, which has seized a string of oil tankers since the collapse of its nuclear deal with world powers.
A spokesman for the National Security Council of the White House, John Kirby, told reporters last week that the United States intends to take “a series of moves to strengthen our defense position” in the Persian Gulf, while criticizing Iran’s recent seizure of tankers. oil.
For its part, Iran has long been critical of the US presence in the region.
After Kirby’s statements, the spokesman for the Iranian “Foreign” Ministry, Nasser Kanaani, issued a lengthy statement accusing the United States of “creating and intensifying instability and insecurity in the Arab Gulf region over decades of time, through its interventionist and destructive policies.”
However, Kanaani also specifically mentioned that the United States had “captured and confiscated some Iranian oil shipments in international waters.”
The Americans’ suspected seizure of the Suez Rajan, which belongs to a US private equity firm and is believed to be carrying sanctioned Iranian crude oil off Singapore, likely prompted Tehran’s recent seizure of the Islands-flagged Advantage Suite. Marshall. That ship carried Kuwaiti crude oil for Chevron Energy Corporation in San Ramon, California.
There was no immediate reaction in the Iranian official media, nor from the Revolutionary Guards, regarding Paul Hamilton’s journey from the Persian Gulf through the strait to the Gulf of Oman.
Yet the Iranians were not likely to have known immediately that the American, British, and French commanders were on board, even though at least one of the guards on the speedboats was observing the Paul Hamilton with binoculars.
The Iranian mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the aforementioned cruise.
On the flight through the Strait of Hormuz, at least one Iranian drone observed the movement of the destroyer Paul Hamilton. Meanwhile, the US Navy’s Boeing B-8 Poseidon was in the air.
US forces routinely conduct drone patrols in the area, and a Navy SEAL has launched some drones into the sea.
Securing the Strait of Hormuz has been a prominent, and perhaps fatal, challenge since the “Carter Doctrine,” and what was called the “tanker war” in the eighties involved US naval ships escorting Kuwaiti oil tankers, which changed the flags raised on board, through the Gulf and the Strait, after they attached Iranian mines damaged ships in the region, so that the US Navy fought a one-day naval battle against Iran at the time, and also mistakenly shot down an Iranian commercial airliner, killing 290 people.
Former President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the “Tehran nuclear agreement” with world powers in 2018 raised new challenges for Iran in the region.
With the intensification of oil sanctions against Iran, in May 2019, Tehran seized oil tankers, while the naval forces blamed Iran; To use mine again against charging. The Trump administration launched its Sentinel program, which also included the United States and its partner countries, to accompany ships in the region. But tensions with Europe, after the collapse of the nuclear deal, did not see widespread acceptance of that programme.
It appears that this renewed effort under President Joe Biden does not involve escorting individual ships, but rather an attempt to place more allied forces in the region. Indeed, the United States has transferred A-10 Thunderbolt aircraft and a military submarine to the region. In an effort to deter Iran.
The United States could also bring more ships to the Persian Gulf. The end of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the war in Ukraine, and American concern about China’s expansion in the South China Sea have halted routine carrier deployments in recent years.
For now, Cooper points to the presence of his British and French colleagues — Rear Admiral Philip Dennis, commander of the British Naval Component Command, and Vice Admiral Emmanuel Salars, joint commander of French forces deployed in the Indian Ocean — as evidence of the resolve of the United States and its partners.
Cooper said this is “part of strengthening our presence in the region, which the White House signaled last week, and is now being implemented.”