US Navy Deploys Submarine to Middle East Amid Iran Tensions

The Navy rarely acknowledges the location or deployment of the submarines and Timothy Hawkins, a spokesman for the 5th Fleet based in the Gulf nation of Bahrain, declined to comment on the submarine’s mission or what prompted the deployment.

He said the nuclear-powered submarine, based in Kings Bay, Georgia, passed through the Suez Canal on Friday.

“It is capable of carrying up to 154 Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles and is deployed to the US 5th Fleet to help ensure regional maritime security and stability,” Hawkins said.

The Fifth Fleet patrols the crucial Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf through which 20% of all oil transits.

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President Joe Biden’s army has deployed the submarine (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

Its region includes the Bab el-Mandeb Strait off Yemen and the Red Sea which stretches to the Suez Canal, the Egyptian waterway linking the Middle East to the Mediterranean Sea.

The United States, the United Kingdom and Israel have accused Iran of attacking oil tankers and commercial ships in recent years, accusations denied by Tehran.

The US Navy has also reported a series of tense encounters at sea with Iranian forces that it said were being recklessly aggressive.

Last month, the United States launched airstrikes against Iranian-backed forces in Syria after a rocket attack killed an American contractor and wounded seven other Americans in northeastern Syria.

Tomahawk cruise missiles launched from ships or submarines can hit targets up to 1,500 miles away. They were used during the first hours of the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and in response to a chemical weapons attack in Syria in 2018.

Tensions between the United States and Iran have soared since then-President Donald Trump withdrew from a 2015 deal with world powers that provided sanctions relief in exchange for Iran curbing its nuclear activities and placing them under heightened surveillance. .

The Biden administration’s efforts to restore the deal hit a wall last year.

Tensions have worsened as Iran has supplied attack drones to Russian forces in Ukraine and as Israel and Iran have escalated their years-long shadow war in the Middle East.

In addition to reaching out to Moscow, Tehran has sought to improve relations with China, which brokered a deal last month to restore diplomatic relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

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