The U.S. military has announced that it is sending more resources to the Middle Eastern region in order to counter Iranian threats in the area.
U.S. Central Command made the announcement in a press release that it published on Thursday, July 20.
The announcement indicates that U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has ordered the deployment of additional military resources - including warships and Marines - to the Middle East.
The announcement also indicates that this is being done to bolster America's military presence in the region in order to stop Iran from targeting commercial vessels in the Strait of Hormuz.
U.S. Central Command's press release begins by explaining why additional resources are being sent to the Middle East and by specifying which additional resources are being sent.
The press release states:
In response to recent attempts by Iran to seize commercial ships in the CENTCOM area of operations, the Secretary of Defense has ordered the deployment of an Amphibious Readiness Group/Marine Expeditionary Unit (ARG/MEU) into the CENTCOM area of responsibility, in addition to the recently approved forces comprising F-35s, F-16s, and a guided missile destroyer, the USS Thomas Hudner (DDG-116). The ARG/MEU brings additional aviation, maritime assets, and U.S. Marines, providing even greater flexibility and maritime capability in the region.
U.S. Central Command goes on to provide further details about the nature of the threat posed by Iran.
"In the past two years, Iran has attacked, seized, or attempted seizure of nearly 20 internationally flagged merchant vessels in the CENTCOM area of operations," the press release states.
UPI, in a report, highlights some of the more recent actions taken by Iran.
"In April, Iran's navy was successful in capturing a Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker," the outlet reports.
In early June, the U.S. and British navies responded to a distress call from a merchant ship transiting the Strait of Hormuz that came under harassment from what U.S. Naval Forces Central Command described as three Iranian fast-attack boats. And on July 5, the U.S. military said it thwarted two attempts by the Iranian navy to seize commercial tankers near the coast of Oman.
U.S. Central Command's press release concludes with a statement from Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla, in which Kurilla says that the additional military resources being deployed to the Middle East will "deter Iranian destabilizing activities in the region."
"U.S. Central Command is committed to defending freedom of navigation within our area of responsibility which includes some of the most important waterways in the world," Kurilla said.
The commander added, "These additional forces provide unique capabilities, which alongside our partners nations in the region, further safeguard the free flow of international commerce and uphold the rules-based international order, and deter Iranian destabilizing activities in the region."