The U.S. military could escort American ships through key waterways in the Middle East, Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters on Wednesday.

"We will escort our ships to the degree that the risk demands it," Esper said at a Pentagon media availability.

However, Esper stressed on Wednesday that he was not announcing that U.S. Navy ships and aircraft would immediately begin escorting U.S. commercial ships through the Strait of Hormuz to deter Iranian aggression.

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