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LONDON: A US Navy nuclear submarine passed through the Strait of Hormuz on Monday and entered the Arabian Gulf in the latest show of military strength from Washington in the region.

The USS Georgia, which can carry dozens of land-attack cruise missiles, was accompanied by two guided-missile cruisers, the US Navy said.

The narrow waters of the Strait of Hormuz separate Iran from the Arabian Peninsula and are the route through which a large quantity of the world’s crude oil supplies pass on ships. The strait has often been a flashpoint of regional tensions with Iran, with Tehran threatening to close the passage in previous escalations with the US and its allies in the Gulf.

“As an inherently flexible maneuver force, capable of supporting routine and contingency operations, Georgia’s presence demonstrates the United States’ commitment to regional partners and maritime security with a full spectrum of capabilities to remain ready to defend against any threat at any time,” the US Navy said.

The US has flexed its military muscles in the Gulf in recent weeks to warn Iran and reassure America’s Gulf allies at a time of transition in Washington. The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz arrived in the Gulf in late November, and two B-52 bombers recently flew over the Middle East.

On Sunday, the head of US Central Command (Centcom), which oversees US forces in the region, said Washington is “prepared to react” if Iran carries out an attack to mark one year since the killing of Iranian commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani. 

“We are prepared to defend ourselves, our friends and partners in the region, and we’re prepared to react if necessary,” Gen. Kenneth McKenzie said.

*With AFP 



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