Iran Press TV
Fri Feb 3, 2017 5:44PM
The United States has deployed the Navy warship USS Cole to off the coast of Yemen amid heightened tensions with Iran, according to two American officials.
The guided-missile destroyer arrived in the surrounding area of the Bab al-Mandab Strait off southwestern Yemen where it will conduct patrolling missions including escorting vessels, the officials told Reuters on Friday. They spoke on condition of anonymity.
The officials said the ship was sent to protect waterways from the Yemeni Houthi Ansarullah movement, claiming that Houthi fighters are allied with Iran.
This comes a day after US President Donald Trump threatened Iran that “nothing is off the table” in terms of a response to its recent test launch of a ballistic missile.
Trump made the comment in response to a question by a reporter about whether he would consider military options to respond to Iran, a day after his National Security Adviser Michael Flynn put Tehran on “notice.”
The White House also said it would respond to Iran’s ballistic missile test.
But the officials told Reuters that the decision to place the USS Cole near Yemen was made before the recent developments.
The Trump administration ratcheted up pressure on Iran over its missile program on Friday by announcing new sanctions on multiple Iranian individuals and entities.
Senior US administration officials said that sanctions imposed against Iran were only the “initial steps in response to Iranian provocative behavior.”
Washington has said Sunday’s ballistic missile test was in violation of the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries.
Tehran insists its missile tests do not breach any UN resolution because they are solely for defense purposes and not designed to carry nuclear warheads