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A Navy carrier strike group just rolled up on Iran's doorstep
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. aircraft carrier strike group Abraham Lincoln sailed through the vital Strait of Hormuz on Tuesday, U.S. officials told Reuters, amid simmering tensions between Iran and the United States.
Tensions in the Gulf have risen since attacks on oil tankers this summer, including off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, and a major assault on energy facilities in Saudi Arabia. Washington has blamed Iran, which has denied being behind the attacks on global energy infrastructure.
The commander overseeing U.S. naval forces in the Middle East told Reuters in May that he would send an aircraft carrier through the Strait of Hormuz if needed.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Navy said the Lincoln transited through the Strait into the Gulf.
About a fifth of the world's oil passes through the Strait of Hormuz.
The aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), left, the air-defense destroyer HMS Defender (D 36) and the guided-missile destroyer USS Farragut (DDG 99) transit the Strait of Hormuz with the guided-missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55) (U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Zachary Pearson)
The United States has deployed thousands of additional military forces in the Middle East, including bombers and air defense personnel, to act as a deterrent against what Washington says is provocative Iranian behavior.
The latest move comes as protests, sparked by gasoline price hikes, have spread across Iran since Friday, with demonstrators demanding that clerical leaders step down.
Waiting to buy fighter jets
Also on Tuesday, the U.S. military released a report that said Iran is likely to buy fighter jets and battle tanks from Russia and China when a United Nations-imposed arms embargo on Tehran -- under the 2015 nuclear deal with major powers -- is lifted next year.
While the U.N. arms embargo on Iran is supposed to be lifted in October 2020, five years after the nuclear deal took effect, it is questionable whether that will transpire given the recent unraveling of the accord.
The report said that Iran was already in discussions with Russia, and China to a lesser extent, to buy military hardware.
Earlier this month, President Hassan Rouhani said Iran would regain access to the international arms market later next year if it stuck to the 2015 nuclear deal and this would prove "a huge political success."
The nearly 120-page report by the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency detailed Iranian military strategy and capabilities.
According to the report, Iran will deploy increasing numbers of more accurate and lethal ballistic missiles in the future and field new land-attack cruise missiles. And over the next decade, Iran's military could consider taking part in multilateral peace-keeping missions and building permanent bases in allied countries, the report said.
SAN DIEGO — Days after Rep. Duncan Hunter pleaded guilty to a federal felony related to a yearslong campaign finance scandal, he has finally stated explicitly that he will resign from his congressional seat before the end of his term.
"Shortly after the holidays I will resign from Congress," Hunter, R-Calif., in a statement. "It has been an honor to serve the people of California's 50th District, and I greatly appreciate the trust they have put in me over these last 11 years."
A collision between a Coast Guard boat and a Navy vessel near Kodiak Island, Alaska on Wednesday landed six coasties and three sailors to the hospital, officials said.
The Navy has identified the two Defense Department civilians who were killed in a shooting Wednesday at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard in Hawaii.
A shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida has left four people dead, including the gunman, law enforcement officials said at a Friday news conference.
The shooter and two victims were killed at the base and another victim died after being taken to the hospital, said Chip Simmons, deputy chief of the Escambia County Sheriff's Office.
Another seven people remain hospitalized, including two sheriff's deputies who engaged the gunman, Simmons said at Friday's news conference. One was hit in the arm and the other was shot in the knee. Both are expected to recover.
Widespread sexism and gender bias in the Marine Corps hasn't stopped hundreds of female Marines from striving for the branch's most dangerous, respected and selective jobs.
Six years after the Pentagon officially opened combat roles to women in 2013, 613 female Marines and sailors now serve in them, according to new data released by the Marine Corps.
"Females are now represented in every previously-restricted occupational field," reads a powerpoint released this month on the Marine Corps Integration Implementation Plan (MCIIP), which notes that 60% of those female Marines and sailors now serving in previously-restricted units joined those units in the past year.