On Monday, the US steamed a nuclear-power guided-missile submarine through the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow waterway between Iran and the Arabian peninsula. The US Navy said the Ohio-class submarine USS Georgia was accompanied by two US warships.
“Georgia’s presence demonstrates the United States’ commitment to regional partners and maritime security with a full spectrum of capabilities to remain ready to defend against any threat at any time,” the US Navy said in a statement.
US submarines and warships often sail near Iran’s coast. The announcement of the Georgia’s maneuver is a clear message to Iran and comes at a time of heightened tensions. Earlier this month, the US sent two B-52 bombers to the Middle East, the second time within a month that the US deployed long-range bombers to the region.
Since the assassination of Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the US and Israel have been warning of possible Iranian attacks, although Iran seems keen not to provoke the US before President Trump leaves office.
Fakhrizadeh’s killing came after a report said President Trump reviewed options to strike an Iranian nuclear site. The Israelis took the news as a signal to increase tensions, while Iran urged its allies in the region to exercise caution and avoid provoking tensions.
On Sunday, rockets were fired at the Green Zone in Baghdad where the US embassy is located. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was quick to blame the attack on “Iran-backed” militias, despite the fact that Iran has warned its allies in Iraq against attacking US forces. But some Shia militias rejected Iran’s warnings since they have their own reasons to attack the US. Other groups like ISIS could also be interested in provoking a war between the US and Iran.