US Navy bolsters presence in Gulf after Iran seizure

US warships protecting American-flagged ships in the Strait of Hormuz may extend assistance to other countries’ vessels, officials said Friday, after reports of Iranian forces harassing shipping.

The expanded US naval presence is intended to signal to Iran that Washington is ready to safeguard shipping along the vital corridor, even at a moment of delicate diplomacy with Tehran over its nuclear program, experts said.

American warships started “accompanying” US-flagged vessels in the Strait of Hormuz on Thursday in response to two incidents in less than a week in which commercial vessels were coerced or harassed by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter approved the operation and “this is going to continue for an indefinite period of time,” Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steven Warren said.



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