US –Iran Tension Rise as Tehran Demonstrates Military Control Over the Persian Gulf

By Arie Egozi

Foreign Affairs

Tel Aviv: Tension between the US and Iran in Persian Gulf reached a new level with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard releasing a video of surveilling and following a US Navy ship in waters off the coast of the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf.

According to Iran international – a London based website operated by the opposition to the regime in Tehran, the incident of Iran’s military adventurism, which apparently occurred on August 17, was portrayed as a demonstration of the regime’s military control over the Persian Gulf’s strategic waterway. This was showcased during a gathering of prominent IRGC commanders and officials in Tehran on August 19.

In the video, IRGC Navy speedboats issued a warning to the USS Thomas Hudner warship and two of its helicopters seen flying above the vessel, not to violate Iran’s territorial waters. Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri boasted about “the achievement,” stating that the IRGC Navy compelled the intruding vessel to obey orders from the Iranian speedboats.

He elaborated that the IRGC deployed vessels from the Zolfaqar flotilla to the location where helicopters were approaching Iran’s territorial waters. In coordination with the speedboats, they pressured the choppers to land shortly after taking off from the vessel’s flying deck.

According to the website, the only thing clear in the video is that the IRGC navy issues its warning and the US warship replies that it is in international waters. A helicopter is seen landing on the deck but it is not clear if it took the actions because of an Iranian warning.

“Iran and other neighbouring Persian Gulf countries can ensure regional security and they have no need to the presence of outsiders,” Tangsiri  said, referring to more than 3,000 US sailors and marines that have arrived in the region along with the USS Bataan (LHD 50), an amphibious assault ship, and the USS Carter Hall (LSD 50), a dock landing ship.

The forces from the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) have been deployed in response to escalating tensions with Iran and as a show of maritime strength. In June, the Pentagon had already sent additional F-35 and F-16 fighter jets along with a warship to the Middle East in a bid to monitor key waterways in the region following Iran’s seizure and harassment of commercial vessels.

The IRGC held drills around three Iranian islands in the Persian Gulf contested by the United Arab Emirates and claimed that it has added a 600-kilometer-range new missile to its arsenal “for defending the islands’ territory.”