In response to recent attempts by Iran to threaten the free flow of commerce in the Strait of Hormuz and its surrounding waters, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has ordered the deployment of additional forces to bolster maritime security in the region.
A portion of the BATAAN Amphibious Readiness Group/Marine Expeditionary Unit (ARG/MEU) comprised of the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan, dock landing ship USS Carter Hall, and its associated personnel and equipment have been deployed into the US Central Command area of responsibility.
Through these actions, the United States is demonstrating commitment to ensuring freedom of navigation and deterring Iranian destabilization activities in the region, the Pentagon said in a press release.
“We will continue to work with like-minded allies and partners who are committed to the free flow of commerce to take appropriate, coordinated actions against threats to this fundamental principle of the rules-based international order,” it added.
The strengthening of U.S. military prowess in the Strait of Hormuz comes within a few days of Pentagon sending a Navy destroyer along with fighter jets to the region.
Earlier this week, Lloyd Austin had ordered the deployment of guided missile destroyer USS Thomas Hudner, F-35 fighters and F-16 fighters to the U.S. Central Command area “to defend U.S. interests and safeguard freedom of navigation in the region”.
Earlier this month, the Iranian navy attempted to illegally seize two merchant vessels in the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman.
According to Centcom, Iran has attacked or seized about 20 merchant vessels since 2021.
The world depends on the strategic waterway for more than one fifth of the global oil supply.
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