Netherlands' Air Force F-16 fighter jets fly alongside an aircraft simulating aerial interceptions during a media day on July 4, 2023

US Boosting Deterrent Power In The Persian Gulf Against Iran

Saturday, 07/15/2023

After adopting a more active posture to deter Iran in the Persian Gulf, the Pentagon said Friday it will deploy more warplanes to protect shipping in the region.

The US already uses A-10 fighter jets to patrol the strategic waterway, in particular the narrow Strait of Hormuz from Iranian attempts to seize oil tankers navigating in international waters, but it will now deploy additional F-16 jets.

A Pentagon official speaking to reporters on condition of anonymity said the F-16s will be an additional element to deter Iran and provide protection to commercial shipping.

Iran’s latest attempt to interfere with commercial shipping occurred earlier this month when it tried to seize two vessels. The US Navy announced July 5 that it prevented Iranian naval forces from diverting the vessels including the Richmond Voyager, a supertanker managed by Chevron in the Strait of Hormuz, the narrowest part of the Persian Gulf.

The official said that in both cases Iranian forces withdrew as the US Navy arrived on the scene.

Iran has been harassing commercial shipping in recent years and seized multiple vessels since 2019. Over the years, Iranian speedboats also harassed US Navy ships, sometimes in dangerous maneuvers.

An oil tanker being seized by Iranian navy speedboats on May 3, 2023

“[The] United States will not allow foreign or regional powers to jeopardize freedom of navigation through the Middle East waterways, including the Strait of Hormuz,” National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby told reporters May 12. The US Navy in early June said that Iran had interfered with or attacked 15 internationally flagged merchant ships over the past two years.

Iran’s provocative actions come as attempts to restrict its uranium enrichment and reach a nuclear agreement have remained unsuccessful since President Joe Biden assumed office in January 2021. Iran has expanded military cooperation with Russia, supplying hundreds of kamikaze drones that are being used in Ukraine against civilian and military targets.

The Pentagon official also told reporters the US is concerned about more Russian aggressive actions in Syria in collaboration with Iran and the Syrian government.

Recently Russian warplanes tried to interfere with operations of US military drones that were trying to attack Islamic State group targets in Syria.

The official told reporters that Iran’s supply of drones to Russia and support for the invasion of Ukraine has given political leverage to the Islamic Republic that wants to use the Russians to expel the United States from Syria. The US also believes there is more planning and intelligence sharing cooperation now between Russian and Iranian IRGC forces in Syria to pressure US to withdraw troops from Syria.

Iran also probably wants to use escalatory tactics to force Washington to accept its terms in recent reported diplomatic contacts between the two sides aimed at some sort of a deal over three Americans held hostage by Tehran.

Iran wants Washington to agree to around $20 billion of its funds in third countries to be released, which would be significant for its beleaguered economy. Iraq holds around $10 billion of debts to Iran, while South Korean banks hold another $7 billion.

Pro-Iranian Iraqi Shiite militia groups also organized a protest Friday near the US embassy in Baghdad, demanding non-interference by the United States in Iraq’s internal affairs. Iran however, is deeply enmeshed in Iraqi politics using its proxy forces.

More News

Hat Trick
IITV News (44) - DC via PCR1
News at a Glance
News (12') - LON

The Truth is in Your Voice

Send your Videos and Photos to us