Tensions between the US and Iran have all but reached a breaking point with a naval standoff moments away from occurring in the Strait of Hormuz.
Following rumors of a budding nuclear program in the works from Tehran, American authorities attempted to infiltrate Iran, most notable with a filed stealth surveillance mission that ended with a US spy drone being downed, recovered and decoded by overseas authorities. After Iran mocked America for the country’s inability to manage and command their own aircraft, the European Union fired back in recent days by threatening sanctions against Iran. In response, overseas authorities say that they would respond by shutting down the Strait of Hormuz, a notable channel in the Persian Gulf that serves as a key component in Iran’s oil export exhibitions.
America, who has made it no secret that she’s a fan of oil, says it won’t let Iran get away with shutting down the strait — and the US has thousands of marines on the ready to back up its bark.
While tensions between the two countries have been tight for years, the standoff on the brink of battle could finally bring both nations to loggerheads as word of an all-out war between the two countries has continuously been rumored.
“Anyone who threatens to disrupt freedom of navigation in an international strait is clearly outside the community of nations: any disruption will not be tolerated,” US Fifth Fleet spokeswoman Lt Rebecca Rebarich tells the Associated Press. At its narrowest point, the strait is barely 30 miles wide and is bordered by Iran to the north and the United Arab Emirates to the South. Even if its thousands of miles away from America, Lt Rebarich adds that the US Navy is “…always ready to counter malevolent actions to ensure freedom of navigation.”
In recent weeks, the US has increased military presence in the vicinity of Iran, allegedly installing troops in Pakistan and Afghanistan and arming the UAE with weaponry that could crush any barracks or nuclear facilities across the strait. The mobilization of the Fifth Fleet adds to that arsenal already on the ready an army of more than 15,000 men on over 20 ships and aircraft.
Iran warns that it shut down the strait in a heartbeat, however. “Closing the Strait of Hormuz for Iran’s armed forces is really easy … or as Iranians say, it will be easier than drinking a glass of water,” Iran’s navy chief Habibollah Sayyari tells the state’s Press TV this week. In the meantime, Sayyari says “we don’t need to shut it,” but could be waiting for America to make the next move.