The United States Navy has reported a reduced presence of Iranian ships this year.
In the Persian Gulf, where U.S. warships were routinely harassed by Iranian gunboats in years past, Iran has been absent.
The U.S. Navy noted that this could change due to Iran’s threats to block the Strait of Hormuz, according to Fox News.
According to the Navy, there were 22 incidents of Iranian harassment of U.S. warships in the Gulf in 2015; there were 36 in 2016; there were 14 last year, and this year there have been zero to date.
The previous harassment against U.S. warships, deemed “unsafe and unprofessional,” took place approximately three times a month in former President Obama’s last year in office.
During President Trump’s first year in office, the harassment fell a reported 60 percent, taking place just once per month.
However, no incidents of Iranian harassment have taken place this year.
The last incident occurred in August 2017, nearly a year ago.
During a landing attempt on the USS Nimitz by an F/A-18 Hornet, an Iranian drone flew within 100 feet and created an unsafe situation.
Recent threats by Iranian officials to block the Strait of Hormuz over oil sanctions could re-energize Iranian harassment in the Persian Gulf.
Tehran will close the Strait of Hormuz in response to US attempts to stop its oil exports -Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander https://t.co/uSv2TOOjFJ
— RT (@RT_com) July 6, 2018
The Strait of Hormuz bears transport of 30 percent of global oil transfers each day through the Persian Gulf.
The U.S. Central Command swiftly responded this week to the threat by saying the U.S. and allies were prepared “to ensure the freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce wherever international law allows,” Politico reported.
The threats followed a warning from a senior U.S. State Department official, in which Iran was advised to change its behavior or face additional sanctions.
Brian Hook, State Department director of policy planning, said this week: “Our goal is to increase pressure on the Iranian regime by reducing to zero its revenue from crude oil sales. Now, we are working to minimize disruptions to the global market, but we are confident that there is sufficient global spare oil production capacity.”
State Department Policy Planning Director Brian Hook announces:
-Iran sanctions on automotive, other sectors will snap back on August 6
-Sanctions on energy and banking sector will snap back on November 4 pic.twitter.com/hgvzCJ1jYe
— Robbie Gramer (@RobbieGramer) July 2, 2018
However, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani challenged the warning.
“In my opinion, what a U.S. official put forward when saying that the United State of America intends to reduce to zero Iranian oil exports, are actually remarks that I think are exaggerated and on a practical level will never be able to be implemented,” Rouhani said.
Rear Admiral Ali Ozmaei, an Iranian Revolutionary Guards Commander, said in January that the Iranian harassment halted because the “Americans’ behavior” had changed.
“They pay more attention to international regulations and avoid approaching Iran’s territorial waters,” he said, Reuters reported.
This claim was denied by the U.S. military officials.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Fifth Fleet said: “The United States Navy has not adjusted its operations and will continue to operate wherever international law allows.”