U.S. boosts military presence in the Middle East after Iran seizes tankers
Another incident occurred April 27, when the Advantage Sweet tanker ship belonging to the Marshall Islands was also seized after colliding with an Iranian boat, which injured several crewmembers, according to Iran’s state media.
Over the past two years, the IRGC has attacked or disrupted 15 tankers as tensions between Iran and the U.S. grow over the country’s nuclear program.
Kirby said he will “provide additional details on those reinforcements” within days. Washington will also be increasing its coordination with the International Maritime Security Construct, a group of 11 nations formed to help protect merchant shipping in the region.
The government of Iran has “no justification for these actions,” said Kirby, adding that the U.S. “will not allow foreign or regional powers to jeopardize freedom of navigation in the Middle East waterways, including the Strait of Hormuz and the Bab al-Mandab.”
Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, head of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, also said in a statement that “Iran’s unwarranted, irresponsible and unlawful seizure and harassment of merchant vessels must stop.”