The US has moved more than 3,000 troops to the Red Sea, escalating tensions with Iran. The move comes after Iran seized several civilian vessels in the same waters in recent years. According to the US, Iran has seized or attempted to take control of at least 20 internationally flagged vessels in these waters over the last two years. The US says its troops have been moved to protect the Straits of Hormuz shipping lanes from Iranian harassment.
For their part, Iran does not deny many of the seizures the US has accused them of conducting. But Iran says this is a retaliatory move after the US seized an Iranian oil tanker as part of their economic sanctions enforcement.
Amid the escalating tensions, the US has warned shippers utilizing these waters to stay clear of Iranian territory. The Straits of Hormuz are in the territorial waters of Iran and Oman but, more importantly, sit at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, where more than 20% of the world’s oil passes through on its way to fuel the global economy.