DOD Seeks Safe Hormuz Passage for All
DOD Seeks Safe Hormuz
Passage for All, Official Says
By Cheryl Pellerin, American
Forces Press Service.
Washington D.C. -- (AFPS)
January 3, 2012 – Closure of the strategically important Strait of Hormuz, which
Iran has threatened while holding military exercises there since Dec. 23, will
not be tolerated, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said today.
According to international news reports, Iran has warned the
United States not to replace the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis, which
last week left the strait -- the only sea passage to the open ocean for
petroleum-producing nations in the Persian Gulf region.
“Such regularly scheduled movements are in accordance with
longstanding U.S. commitments to the region’s security and stability, and in
support of ongoing operations,” Little told reporters.
Such carrier strike group deployments are needed to maintain
continuity and operational support to ongoing missions in the U.S. Central
Command area of responsibility, he added.
“Our interest is in safe and secure maritime passage for
ships transiting the Strait of Hormuz,” Little said.
“No one in this government seeks confrontation over the
Strait of Hormuz,” he added. “It’s important to lower the temperature.”
The deployment of U.S. military assets in the Persian Gulf
region will continue as it has for decades, the Pentagon press secretary said.
The U.S. Navy operates under international maritime
conventions to maintain “a constant state of high vigilance to ensure the
continued safe flow of maritime traffic in waterways critical to global
commerce,” Little added.
“Our transits of the Strait of Hormuz continue to be in
compliance with international law,” he said, “which guarantees our vessels the
right of transit passage.”
Little said the department is committed to protecting
maritime freedoms that are the basis for global prosperity -- one of the reasons
U.S. military forces operate in the region.
“We are obviously aware of reports of missile tests that are
apparently tied to Iranian naval exercises that began in late December,” he said,
adding that Iran has the right to conduct exercises and that it has taken no
hostile or aggressive action against U.S. Navy vessels in the region.
“The United States believes that the Iranian regime should
devote its energy and resources to establishing friendly relations with
countries in the Gulf region,” Little said.