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According to a Pentagon spokesman on Saturday, rising concerns that Iranian forces might target foreign commercial ships or oil tankers in the Persian Gulf has led the U.S. Navy to deploy a nuclear-powered guided-missile submarine carrying Tomahawk missiles to the region.
The sub is based out of Kings Bay, Georgia, and passed through the Suez Canal this week, according to 5th Fleet spokesman Cmdr. Timothy Hawkins, said of the submarine, "It is capable of carrying up to 154 Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles and is deployed to U.S. 5th Fleet to help ensure regional maritime security and stability."
It is rare for the U.S. Navy to publicly disclose the deployment or location of submarines internationally. The sub is likely headed to patrol the Strait of Hormuz, which is frequented by international tankers and has a heavy IRGC Navy presence as some of the waterway makes up Iranian territorial waters near the coast.
According to the U.S. Navy, there has also been a recent rash of tense encounters at sea with Iranian forces that were being carelessly aggressive.
Last month Iran, China, and Russia held several days of joint military exercises in the Gulf of Oman named "Security Belt 2023." Also, last week a Russian warship docked at a Saudi Arabian port for the first time in a decade.
To add to the concern, the rising tensions come on the heels of the China-brokered rapprochement between former rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran, which the Biden administration has admitted surprised U.S. officials.