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US 'beefing up defenses in Persian Gulf to counter Iran's Strait of Hormuz blockade threat'

Washington , Sat, 25 Feb 2012 ANI

Washington, Feb 25 (ANI): The United States is beefing up its sea and land-based defense systems in the Persian Gulf to counter any attempt by Iran to close the Strait of Hormuz, the world's most important oil shipping route.


According to defense officials, the U.S. military has planned to preposition new mine-detection and clearing equipment and expand surveillance capabilities in and around the strait.


Officials revealed that the military also wants to quickly modify weapons systems on ships so they could be used against Iranian fast-attack boats, as well as shore-launched cruise missiles, The Wall Street Journal reports.


"When the enemy shows more signs of capability, we ask what we can do to checkmate it. They ought to know we take steps to make sure we are ready," the paper quoted a US military officer, as saying.


The officials said that 'the readiness push is spearheaded by the military's Central Command, which oversees U.S. forces in the Gulf region'.


According to the paper, the changes put a spotlight on what officials have singled out as potential US shortcomings in the event of a conflict with Iran.


The head of Central Command, Marine General James Mattis, asked for the equipment upgrades after reviews by war planners and exposed "gaps" in US defense capabilities and military preparedness should Tehran close the Strait of Hormuz, officials said.


The Central Command reviews, in particular, have fueled concerns about the U.S. military's ability to respond swiftly should Iran mine the strait, through which almost 20 percent of the world's oil is traded. (ANI)


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