US official says ships are free to operate in international waters
The Guardian reports that a naval officer from Iran has stated that Iranian warships have been ordered to approach the US maritime borders. The ordering of Iranian warships toward the US coastal borders is a response to the stationing of US vessels in the Persian Gulf according to the officer.
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"Iran's military fleet is approaching the United States' maritime borders, and this move has a message," the Fars news agency quoted Admiral Afshin Rezayee Haddad as saying.
The Iranian warships are starting their voyage towards the US towards the Atlantic Ocean using "waters near South Africa" according to Fars. The news agency also claims that the ships are "Iran's response to Washington's beefed up naval presence in the Persian Gulf.
The Guardian reports that the report on ship mobilizations from the Fars agency doesn't mention what ships are being deployed. There is also no confirmation that the ships are on their way towards the US from other sources.
One US official has said he doubts the ships are heading towards the US. However, he added that ships from any nation are free to operate in international waters. The US position in the Persian Gulf is in part to ensure that the critical waterway remains open. A whopping 40% of the world's seaborne oil exports pass through the Persian Gulf. Iranian officials have in the past threatened to block the mouth of the Persian Gulf at the Strait of Hormuz if it came under attack.