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In May, Tehran claimed a US-Iran confrontation in the Persian Gulf was sparked by the unauthorized presence of US naval vessels during planned Iranian military drills. The Pentagon countered that the IRGC fleet had acted in a “harassing” manner towards the US ships.
The US Navy began patrolling the waters around the Persian Gulf in September 2019, purportedly to protect commercial vessels traveling through the area. The move came after Iran seized a British-flagged oil tanker and another based in the United Arab Emirates. Earlier, British marines had seized control of an Iranian-flagged tanker off the coast of Gibraltar.
Military tensions between Tehran and Washington have been running high since the US assassination of top Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike in January. The killing triggered retaliations from Iran in the form of missile strikes on Iraqi bases housing US troops.
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