WASHINGTON — A U.S. show of force appears to have been enough to get Iran to back down, after Tehran’s naval forces repeatedly targeted ships in and around the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman earlier this year.
The commander of U.S. Air Forces Central Command said Wednesday that the decision in July to send F-35 and F-16 fighter jets to the Persian Gulf, along with a naval destroyer and an amphibious assault group that included 2,500 U.S. Marines, seems to have resonated with Iranian officials.
“The increased presence of surface vessels that went in … combined with our airpower has deterred Iran from taking any actions against maritime shipping,” Lieutenant General Alexus Grynkewich told members of the Defense Writers Group in Washington.
“It has had good effects,” he added.
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered the additional U.S. capabilities to the region after Iran attempted to seize two commercial tankers in international waters off the coast of Oman in early July, which followed Iran’s successful seizure of two oil tankers transiting the Strait of Hormuz just months earlier.
The U.S. Navy says, in all, Iran has seized or harassed almost 20 ships in the region over the past two years.
In contrast, reports from Iran’s state-run media on some of the ship seizures have said Iran’s actions have been part of efforts to combat illegal fuel smuggling, and they have claimed that at least some of the vessels were in Iran’s territorial waters.
Source : VOA News