The head of Iran’s navy said the country aims to put its warships in international waters off the US coast “in the next few years.”
The comments Tuesday from Admiral Habibollah Sayyari on state TV are part of Iran’s response to Washington’s beefed up naval presence in the Persian Gulf.
The US Navy’s 5th fleet is based in Bahrain — across the gulf from Iran — and the US plans maritime war games later this month.
Iran has made similar claims in the past, saying its ships could soon sail into international waters off the US coast.
In late August, the US deployed a large aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf, cutting short leave for thousands of soldiers to send them back to the Middle East ahead of schedule.
The US Navy said the USS John C. Stennis, which was initially scheduled to return to the Gulf in late December, was being deployed early “to maintain combatant commander requirements for the presence in the region.”
The latest developments come amid growing fears of a possible military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, which analysts say could spark a wider war or the closing of the Strait of Hormuz, a key shipping lane that the US has said it will use its power to keep open.
Tehran and Washington have been at odds over Tehran’s nuclear program, which the the West suspects is aimed at producing nuclear weapons. Iran denies the charge.