Iran could carry out “provocative actions” in the Strait of Hormuz and elsewhere in that region in the future despite a period of relative calm, acting U.S. Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said on Friday.
Tensions in the Gulf have mounted since attacks on oil tankers this summer, including off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, and a major strike on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia. Washington has blamed Iran, which has denied being behind the attacks.
“I think they’re going to continue to perform provocative actions over there… and I think they’ll look at every opportunity they can to do that,” Modly told Reuters, without giving a timeline or details.
“There’s nothing that suggests to me, short of a regime change there, that you have a different tone set from the leadership, that would suggest to me that they’re going to stop doing what they’ve been doing,” he added.
Since May, the Pentagon has sent 14,000 additional troops to the region to deter Iran, including an aircraft carrier.
Modly suggested that U.S. reactions to Iranian actions could take away from the Pentagon’s focus toward priorities like countering China.