Vice Admiral John Miller, commander of the US Fifth Fleet, said on Sunday that a massive naval minesweeping exercise involving 41 countries was not directed at Iran.
Iran on Tuesday warned against any “provocations” in the Gulf as the US-led international naval force began preparing for the exercise.
The Islamic republic has warned that if it was attacked by the US or Israel over its nuclear activities, it would block the strategic Strait of Hormuz, a major oil conduit.
Miller said that “critical to the global economy… is a maritime environment that has free-flowing commerce, ships can safely sail.”
Thirty-five ships, 18 Unmanned Underwater Vehicles and more than 100 explosive ordinance disposal divers will participate in the anti-mine manoeuvres running until the end of May.
Commodore Simon Ancona of the British Royal Navy said that more than 40 countries and 6,500 service members were taking part.
Iran’s Fars news agency reported earlier this week that a minesweeping exercise was being conducted by Iranian forces in the east of the strategic Strait of Hormuz.