The Iranian Islamic revolutionary guard Corps is planning in the next 48 hours to start large-scale military exercises in the Persian Gulf, CNN reports, citing sources among American chinovikov.
Additional US Navy ships are expected to move the Strait of Hormuz and into the Gulf in the coming days officials say.
Perhaps because it hasn't figured out its name: "Persian Gulf, as it's been called for 2,000 yrs longer than United States has existed", Zarif said on his Twitter account on Friday.
According to a US official who spoke to Reuters last month, Washington has also launched a media campaign to spur the protests on and undermine the influence of the Iranian leadership, but some familiar with Iranian politics argue that this will have a boomerang effect. Both countries have asserted the right for decades to block warships whose use of the waterway they don't consider to be "innocent passage", and Iran annually holds exercises in the strait.
"We are aware of the increase in maritime operations in the Arabian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman", spokesman for the Central Command, which oversees U.S. forces in the Middle East, Captain Bill Urban said. "We are monitoring it closely, and will continue to work with our partners to ensure freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce in worldwide waterways", William Urban told CNN.
Iranian navy personnel celebrate after successfully launching a Ghader missile from the Jask port area on the shores of the Gulf of Oman during a drill near the Strait of Hormuz, Tuesday, January 1, 2013. They've done that previously in years past.More news: Blackberry released the most secure smartphones on the Android OS
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Then last Friday, July 27, US Defense Secretary James Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon, "Iran has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz".
This is likely in response to America's expansion of its sanctions against Iran scheduled to come into force on August 6.
Saudi Arabia, Israel, the United States and others have long accused Tehran of pulling the strings of the Houthis, and Israeli officials promised a military response if Iran shuts down either the Strait of Hormuz or the Straits of Bab al-Mandeb.
They have also expressed concern about keeping open the waterways off Yemen, where rebels backed by Iran have attacked oil tankers.