The United States is moving additional military forces into the Persian Gulf region. On Friday it was announced that a Patriot missile battery, and elements of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit embarked on the amphibious assault ship USS. Arlington will begin moving towards the Gulf region soon. This move will bolster the expanding US military force in and around Iran. The additional forces were requested by CENTCOM (US Central Command) to help counter credible threats from Iran that are aimed at US forces in the Middle East.
In light of the growing tensions in the Persian Gulf, the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) has issued an advisory to US commercial ships sailing in nearby waters of an increased chance that Iran or its proxies may take action against the US, and its interests in the Middle East. “Iran or its proxies could respond by targeting commercial vessels, including oil tankers, or U.S. military vessels in the Red Sea, Bab-el-Mandeb Strait, or the Persian Gulf,” the MARAD release explained.
Despite the recent ramping up of military activity, and thinly veiled threats, Washington is keeping the door for dialogue open. President Trump has publicly appealed to Iran to contact him, though it doesn’t appear likely that Iranian leaders will take him up on the offer. Today, an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) senior officer stated Iran will not engage in talks with the US. “Negotiations with Americans will not take place, and Americans will not dare to take military action against us,” he was quoted as saying.
Iran’s economy is close to flatlining as a result of the US sanctions it has been forced to endure. Iran’s revenue from oil, and industrial-type metals has been aggressively targeted and Tehran is feeling the effects. One of the concerns around Washington right now is that the effect of the sanctions could provoke Iran to act militarily, either directly or through its proxies in the region.