The US Navy broke with its usual protocol by announcing the deployment in the Middle East of a nuclear submarine capable of launching 154 Tomahawk missiles. This show of force comes in a context of persistent tensions with Iran.
“[The submarine] is capable of carrying up to 154 Tomahawk land attack cruise missiles and is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet to help ensure regional maritime security and stability,” said the CO. Bahrain-based 5th Fleet spokesman Timothy Hawkins on Saturday.
Hawkins added that this submarine passed through the Suez Canal on Friday on its way to an undisclosed location in the Middle East. He declined to comment on specifics of the submarine’s mission or what led to its deployment.
The US Navy rarely releases information about the locations or deployments of its submarines. Its 5th Fleet operates in the Persian Gulf, Red Sea, Arabian Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean. The Strait of Hormuz, a narrow passage through which about 20% of all oil is transported, also falls under the jurisdiction of the fleet.
The US and UK, and others, have accused Iran in recent years of attacks on commercial tankers, including the 2019 assaults on Norwegian and Japanese ships, which forced both crews to abandon ship. Tehran has vigorously denied these allegations.
The United States has also accused Iran of “Dangerous and harassing approaches” towards its navy in recent years in the Persian Gulf. Tensions between the two were renewed last month after the United States launched missile attacks against Iranian-backed forces in Syria. It was in retaliation for the killing of an American contractor in a rocket attack in the northeast of the country. Seven other Americans were injured in the attack.
Rising tensions were further fueled after then-President Donald Trump pulled out of a 2015 deal to grant Iran sanctions relief, and despite attempts by the administration Biden to seek a diplomatic remedy.
Washington has also expressed concern over Tehran’s support for Russian forces in Ukraine. The United States also opposes Iran’s stance on Israel – with whom it has a so-called proxy dispute – and China, which brokered the restoration of diplomatic ties last month between the United States and Iran. Iran and Saudi Arabia.
You can share this story on social media: