US deploys missile submarine amid tensions with Iran

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The U.S. Navy has deployed a missile submarine capable of carrying up to 154 cruise missiles to the Middle East, a spokesman said Saturday. Stress.

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

The nuclear-powered submarine, based in Kings Bay, Georgia, said it had passed through the Suez Canal on Friday. “It is capable of carrying up to 154 Tomahawk surface attack cruise missiles and is deployed to the US 5th Fleet,” Hawkins said.

The 5th Fleet guards the critical Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf through which 20% of oil is transported. The region spans the Bab el-Mandeb Sea from Yemen and the Red Sea to the Suez Canal, Egypt’s waterway that connects the Middle East to the Mediterranean Sea.

America, England and Israel have them It has accused Iran of targeting oil tankers and merchant ships. In recent years, Tehran has denied the allegations. The US Navy also reported A series of tensions at sea With the Iranian military who were allegedly reckless bullies.

Last month, the US They started air strikes A rocket attack against Iranian-backed forces in Syria has killed an American contractor and wounded seven other Americans in that country’s northeast.

Launched from ships or submarines, Tomahawk cruise missiles can hit targets up to 2,500 kilometers (1,500 miles) away. In the year They were famously employed in the opening hours of the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq. In the year Response to Syria’s chemical weapons attack in 2018.

Then-President Donald Trump Tensions between the United States and Iran have escalated since they pulled out of a 2015 deal with world powers to curb Iran’s nuclear program and improve surveillance.

Efforts by the Biden administration to restore the deal hit a wall last year. The tension has escalated as Iran He provided attack drones to the Russian forces In Ukraine and as Israel and Iran It aggravated the hate war that lasted for years in the Middle East.

In addition to drawing closer to Moscow, Tehran has also sought improved relations with China, which was reached last month. To restore diplomatic relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

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