While tensions between Iran and the US have been soaring during recent weeks, Washington sent a guided-missile nuclear submarine to the Persian Gulf waters to allegedly ‘help ensure regional maritime security and stability’.
This Saturday morning, the US military announced that it had deployed one of its nuclear-powered guided-missile submarines, USS Florida, an Ohio-class submarine, to the Persian Gulf near Iran’s waters to “help ensure regional maritime security and stability”.
While the statement didn’t mention the name of Iran as the reason for such a rare move, it is believed that the US Navy did so amid increasing tensions with the Islamic Republic.
Likewise, the Pentagon released a picture of the submarine as it transited the Suez Canal on its way to the Persian Gulf. The US usually does not disclose the locations of its submarines while they are at sea.
“It is capable of carrying up to 154 Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles and is deployed to US 5th Fleet to help ensure regional maritime security and stability,” fleet spokesperson Commander Timothy Hawkins said in a statement Saturday, adding that the submarine entered the region Thursday and began crossing the canal on Friday.
Tehran and Washington on the path of mounting tensions
Last month, the US military carried out airstrikes against Iran-backed groups in Syria. The attack was carried out after an American contractor was killed in a drone attack on a US military facility in northeastern Syria.
In a statement back then, the Defense Department said the intelligence community had determined the unmanned aerial vehicle was of Iranian origin. Blaming Iran for the attack, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said that US Central Command forces retaliated with “precision airstrikes” against facilities in eastern Syria used by groups affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The so-called retaliatory attack by the US Air Force killed 9.
Iran’ however, denied any involvement in the drone attack. “The United States is trying to project and avoid the consequences of the illegal occupation of a part of the Syrian territory. The military forces of this country make accusations against Iran that are not true,” said Yuan Khosravi, the spokesman of the Supreme National Security Council. Explaining that
Khosravi also pointed out that “Iran has incurred a lot of costs in order to deal with related terrorism and establish stable security in Syria, and it opposes any action that endangers the stability of this country.”
Is more tit-for-tat attacks on the way?
According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, quoting White House officials, the US had intelligence that Iran was planning further attacks across the region in the near future, and that it was the chief reason why the US Navy sent a submarine to the Persian Gulf to show strength against Iran.
In addition, the coming to power of Netanyahu with his far-right, warmongering ministers also has caused worries that Israel will surely restore to military option against Tehran in the near future.
While the US and Israel accuse Iran of threatening the stability and security of the region, Iranian officials believe it is Israel, with the support of Washington, that causes instability and tension. For example, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman, Nasser Kanani, accused Israel last week of bringing “war and insecurity” to the Middle East and of “creating discord in the region.”