Report: U.S. Bolsters Defenses in Gulf Amid Iran Tensions

Wall Street Journal reports that U.S. military is positioning new equipment and expanding surveillance in the strategic Strait of Hormuz region.

In an effort to counter any Iranian effort to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz waterway in the Persian Gulf, the U.S. is increasing both its sea- and land-based defense assets in the area, the Wall Street Journal reported.

According to the report, the U.S. military has informed Congress of plans to preposition new mine-detection and clearing equipment and expand surveillance capabilities in the area of the Strait of Hormuz.

U.S. army Persian Gulf

U.S. defense officials were also quoted as saying that the military wants to modify weapons systems on ships so they can used against Iranian fast-attack boats and shore-launched cruise missiles.

Iran has said it could close the Strait of Hormuz, through which a fifth of the world's crude oil passes, to shipping in response to Western sanctions over its nuclear program. The United States has vowed to keep the waterway open.

The latest report of the International Atomic Energy Agency found that Iran has tripled its capacity to enrich uranium to elevated levels.

Iran's enrichment of uranium up to 20 percent has caused concern in the West because it is theoretically much easier to turn such material into bomb-grade material than uranium enriched at below five percent.

Iran has doubled the number of centrifuges for enriching to 20 percent at its fortified underground site at Fordo, according to a copy of the report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) obtained by DPA.

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