(DCWatchdog.com) – In an unprecedented move, the US military is mulling stationing American service personnel on commercial vessels in the Hormuz Strait to prevent Iran from snatching or harassing civilian ships, a report claims.
About one-fifth of the world’s crude oil supply goes through the Strait of Hormuz, connecting the Persian Gulf with the world ocean.
A report by the Associated Press cited by Newsmax cites four unnamed US officials as revealing the decision to directly board commercial ships to guard them against the radical Shia Islamist regime in Tehran.
AP stresses that the United States didn’t even take the radical step in question during the “Tanker War” with Iran, in which the US Navy engaged the Iranians in a day-long battle, its biggest since World War II.
The revelation comes just as thousands of US Marines and sailors on the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan and the landing ship USS Carter Hall, who could operate an armed guard mission in the Hormuz Straight, are going towards the Persian Gulf.
The four cited sources noted that no final decision had been made for the time being, with US diplomats and military chiefs discussing the matter with America’s allies in the Gulf.
According to the sources, the US Marines and Navy sailors would board foreign civilian ships to protect them from Iran only if such ships asked the United States forces for protection.
On July 10, the Bataan and Carter Hall sailed off from Norfolk, Virginia, “in response to recent attempts by Iran to threaten the free flow of commerce in the Strait of Hormuz and its surrounding waters,” the Pentagon declared at the time.
Last week, the Bataan went through the Gibraltar Strait, entering the Mediterranean on its way to the Persian Gulf.
Motivated by Iran’s harassment of peaceful vessels, the US has already dispatched A-10 Thunderbolt II warplanes, F-16 and F-35 fighters, plus the destroyer USS Thomas Hudner.
Iran has reacted to the US military deployment in the Persian Gulf by stating that nations in its region didn’t need “foreigners” to offer security.
On Wednesday, Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps conducted a surprise military exercise on disputed islands in the Persian Gulf. The drill features paratroopers, missile troops, and “swarms of small fast boats.”