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US Navy Starts Accompanying British Ships Off Iranian Coast

© REUTERS / US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Scott Fenaroli/HandoutRessuply mission
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The move comes after the United Kingdom asked for an escort for their ships, Army Col. Steve Warren said.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) —US warships have begun accompanying British merchant vessels in the Strait of Hormuz, a Pentagon spokesman said Monday.

"They've asked if we would accompany their flagged vessels through the strait."

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The US Department of Defense announced that US warships would accompany all US-flagged commercial vessels passing through the Strait of Hormuz. It also did not rule out that assistance could be extended to other countries as well.

On April 28, several Iranian Navy patrol ships approached Maersk Tigris, a Marshall Islands-flagged cargo vessel, while in Iranian territorial waters. The ship was directed to an Iranian port.

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Maersk Tigris was reportedly seized at the request of Iran's Ports and Maritime Organization because of financial disputes with the owner of the vessel.

On April 29, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that the seizure of the ship was made in compliance with a court order and refuted any political motives behind the move.

The incident comes amid tensions in the Arabian Sea where an Iranian cargo ship en route to Yemen diverted east after the United States scrambled several warships. Washington claimed that Iran could have been trying to supply weapons to Houthi rebels in Yemen, bypassing a UN embargo.

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