The USS John C. Stennis carrier strike group arrived in the Persian Gulf on December 21 after a prolonged period of the absence beginning in 2001.

Its arrival was preceded by warnings sounded by Iran, which threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz — the only maritime exit from the Persian Gulf and a corridor for one-third of the world’s oil exports.

Some 30 Iranian Revolutionary Guard vessels fired rockets in the waters patrolled by a US aircraft carrier strike group led by USS John C. Stennis.

The commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, said that the USS John C. Stennis carrier strike group arrival in the Persian Gulf is aimed “at deceiving the regional states and pretending that they establish security for these countries.”

The US aircraft carrier sailed into the Persian Gulf on Friday amid Iranian threats to close the Strait of Hormuz, the only sea passage from the Gulf to the open ocean and strategic waterway linking Middle East crude producers to crucial world markets.

The chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, Major General Mohammad Baqeri, told reporters on December 30 that the presence of US forces in the Persian Gulf only fuels insecurity.

Tensions between the two countries have further escalated since US President Donald Trump announced the decision to withdraw from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal.

Trump also decided to reinstate all sanctions and introduce a new set of restrictions on the Islamic Republic’s energy, shipping, financial and other sectors, with a stated goal to cut Tehran’s oil exports to zero.

Iran’s military leadership, in turn, has repeatedly warned against any provocations, threatening to close off the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf and the only outlet through which all ship traffic passes.

Sputnik / ABC Flash Point News 2019.

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