US to Iran: Don’t close the Strait of Hormuz

by Nickalas Tabbert

The United States has moved significant military reinforcements into the Persian Gulf to discourage the Iranian military from shutting the Strait of Hormuz, according to the New York Times.

U.S. forces are also planning to increase the number of fighter jets capable of striking deep into Iran if the standoff over its nuclear program escalates.

Part of long-planned efforts to strengthen the American military presence in the gulf region, the deployments are partly designed to reassure Israel in dealing with Iran.

As one senior administration official said last week, “When the president says there are other options on the table beyond negotiations, he means it.”

Navy ships are the most visible elements of the increased military levels, the Times said, doubling the number of minesweepers assigned to the region to eight vessels — a defensive move.

“The message to Iran is, ‘Don’t even think about it,’” one senior Defense Department official said.  “Don’t even think about closing the strait.  We’ll clear the mines.  Don’t even think about sending your fast boats out to harass our vessels or commercial shipping.  We’ll put them on the bottom of the gulf.”

Like others interviewed, the official spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the delicacy of the diplomatic and military situation.