The United States is pursuing an international coalition to protect strategic waterways between Iran and Yemen, said chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford on Tuesday.
“We’re engaging now with a number of countries to see if we can put together a coalition that would ensure freedom of navigation both in the Straits of Hormuz and the Bab al-Mandab,” he said. “And so I think probably over the next couple of weeks, we’ll identify which nations have the political will to support that initiative and then we’ll work directly with the militaries to identify the specific capabilities that’ll support that.”
However, Dunford noted that there hasn’t been “any activity against U.S. forces since the downing of the remotely piloted aircraft earlier in June. And so we are watching that very carefully. I think it’s too early to draw our conclusion about the last couple of weeks.”
U.S. President Donald Trump decided not to retaliate militarily against Iran for shooting down the drone that was part of a series of recent attacks by the regime in response to the U.S. maximum pressure campaign against Tehran since withdrawing in May 2018 from the 2015 nuclear deal, reimposing sanctions lifted under it, in addition to enacting new financial penalties.
On Tuesday, Trump—sitting next to Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani at White House—said that “Iran is doing a lot of bad things right now.”
Dunford’s remarks came as Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Cmdr. Hossein Nejat said earlier on Tuesday that “American bases are within the range of our missiles. … Our missiles will destroy their aircraft carriers if they make a mistake. Americans are very well aware of the consequences of a military confrontation with Iran.”
Finally, European countries accused Iran on Tuesday of “pursuing activities inconsistent with its commitments” under the 2015 nuclear accord, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and called for a meeting “urgently.”
“These compliance issues must be addressed within the framework of the JCPOA, and a Joint Commission should be convened urgently,” said the foreign ministers of Germany, Britain and France, in addition to the European Union’s top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, in a statement.
Mogherini chairs the commission.
“Iran has stated that it wants to remain within the JCPOA. It must act accordingly by reversing these activities and returning to full JCPOA compliance without delay,” said the foreign ministers.