US wants military coalition to safeguard waters off Iran, Yemen | Iran News

The United States says it is working to form a military coalition to protect commercial shipping off the coast of Iran and Yemen amid heightened tensions in the region following attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf.

Under the proposed plan, a coalition of nations will safeguard strategic waters in the Persian Gulf area and the sea between the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff said on Tuesday.

“We’re engaging now with a number of countries to see if we can put together a coalition that would ensure freedom of navigation both in the Straits of Hormuz and the Bab al-Mandab,” said Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Dunford said the Pentagon has developed a specific plan, and that he believes it will be clear within a couple of weeks which nations are willing to join the effort.

The administration of US President Donald Trump has blamed Tehran and its proxies for several attacks on tankers in the Gulf in the past few months.

A fifth of the world’s oil exports passes through the area.

Al Jazeera’s John Hendren, reporting from Washington DC, said that Trump has said “the US should not pay for this, it should be an international military force”.

“But the move presents the potential for conflict with Iran. After all it’s only weeks after the US almost launched military strikes on Iran,” he said.

War of words

The downing of a US surveillance drone by Tehran almost brought the two foes to the brink of war. Trump had authorised military strikes on Iran in retaliation but pulled back from launching them.

Washington slapped new sanctions on top Iranian leaders, including Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei, in the wake of the drone shootdown.

Tensions between Washington and Tehran have grown since last year when Trump unilaterally withdrew from 2015 nuclear deal that had put a cap on Tehran’s nuclear ambitions in exchange for sanctions relief.

The crisis has escalated in recent days as Washington and Tehran have engaged in a war of words over Iran’s decision to pass uranium enrichment limit set by the 2015 accord.

Tehran has asked other parties to the nuclear deal – France, Britain, China, Russia, the European Union and Germany – to find ways to export its oil – a major source of revenue for its crippling economy – choked off by new sanctions, or it will scale up its nuclear programme.

Trump has said it won’t allow Tehran to acquire nuclear weapons, with its close ally in the region, Israel, threatening to bomb Iran.

“We want to deny this regime the revenue it needs to export revolution, to run an expansionist foreign policy that drives a lot of the sectarian violence that we see in the Middle East,” Brian Hook, the US special representative to Iran, told Al Jazeera.

‘US position not softened’

Al Jazeera’s Hendren said the US position has not softened, while Iran has announced it’s violating the nuclear enrichment levels it agreed to in the nuclear deal.

“So the standoff intensifies and the potential for conflict only increases,” he said.

Mark Esper, the acting secretary of defence, raised the issue last month with allied officials at NATO headquarters, but no nations were ready to commit to participating. Esper said at the time that the plans would have to be further refined.

Dunford said he discussed the matter on Tuesday with Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and that plans are coming together.

“We’re getting ready now to move out,” Dunford told a small group of reporters at Fort Myer, Virginia. “We have a pretty clear concept of what we want to do.”

He suggested that the project could begin with a small coalition.

“This will be scalable. So with a small number of contributors we can have a small mission and we’ll expand that as the number of nations that are willing to participate identify themselves,” he said.

Iran has denied it was behind the recent attacks on commercial ships in the Persian Gulf region.

Meanwhile on Tuesday, a commander in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard issued a new threat against US bases and aircraft carriers stationed in the region – saying they would be destroyed if they made a mistake.

Source

more recommended stories

  • ‘Wizard’ arrested after hack of most Bulgarian taxpayers’ details | News

    A 20-year-old Bulgarian cybersecurity worker was.

  • US slaps sanctions on Myanmar army chief over Rohingya abuses | News

    The United States has announced sanctions.

  • Religious restrictions on the rise globally: report | News

    Religious restrictions are on the rise.

  • Iran hits back at US demands on ballistic missiles, proxy groups | News

    Iran has hit back at US.

  • Malaysia parliament to debate move to lower voting age to 18 | News

    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Malaysia’s parliament.

  • El Salvador rape victim jailed for stillbirth goes on trial again | El Salvador News

    San Salvador, El Salvador – Evelyn.

  • Powerful earthquake rocks parts of eastern Indonesia | News

    A strong, shallow earthquake has struck.

  • Cricket: England beat New Zealand to win World Cup | News

    World Cup winners 1975 – West.

  • Barry weakens but Louisiana authorities warn threat remains | News

    Slow-moving tropical storm Barry has weakened.

  • Why is Turkey’s purchase of Russian weapons controversial? | USA

    A battle appears to be looming.

  • UK police warning to media over leaked memos stirs anger | News

    Senior British politicians, including both contenders.

  • The informal networks resisting Honduras’s abortion ban | Honduras

    Tegucigalpa, Honduras – At 22 years.

  • Suicide attack at Somalia hotel followed by gunfire | Somalia News

    A car bomb went off in.

  • Sudan’s ruling military council says coup attempt foiled | News

    Sudan‘s ruling military council (TMC) says.

  • Ghana’s president wants Africa-Europe relationship to change | Colonialism News

    Africa must change its relationship with.

  • Ex-UN chief joins chorus of concern over floods at Rohingya camps | News

    Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has.

  • US wants Senate-approved deal with Iran: US envoy Brian Hook | News

    The Trump administration wants a Senate-approved agreement.

  • After ISIL, children try to catch up with school in Mosul | ISIS/ISIL News

    Mosul, Iraq – It was the.

  • Israel’s separation wall endures, 15 years after ICJ ruling | News

    In the occupied West Bank, the.

  • Turkey seeks to arrest hundreds over alleged Gulen links | News

    Turkish prosecutors have ordered the arrest.

  • Iran: World powers won’t get a better nuclear deal | USA News

    Iran warned world powers they will.

  • Iran passes new nuclear deal limit as China blames US for crisis | News

    Iran has passed the uranium enrichment cap.

  • Trump hits back at UK envoy who called White House ‘inept’ | Trump News

    US President Donald Trump has hit back.

  • Indonesia: Tsunami warning issued after strong earthquake | News

    Indonesian authorities have issued a tsunami.

  • Anti-racists outnumber far-right Proud Boys at DC rally | USA News

    Washington, DC – Counterprotesters outnumbered members.

  • How can modern slavery be stopped? | UK

    They were told they’d get jobs.

  • Media haven or hell? The paradox of journalism in Turkey | Turkey

    In this special edition of the.

  • Rival rallies held on Venezuela’s independence day | Juan Guaido News

    Venezuela‘s bitterly divided political factions have.

  • Can a Corbyn-Sturgeon alliance save Brexit Britain from itself? | UK

    At the start of June, when.

  • ‘State-in-waiting’: Papua’s rebels unite against Indonesia rule | News

    Jakarta, Indonesia – The three main.

  • Meet Pakistan’s blind cricketers | Pakistan News

    On a standard cricket field with.

  • Algeria’s interim president proposes talks without ‘state’ role | Algeria News

    Algeria’s interim President Abdelkader Bensalah pledged.