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Two U.S. guided-missile destroyers entered the Persian Gulf on Thursday without incident as the likelihood of an armed confrontation between Iran and the U.S. appears less likely, two U.S. defense officials confirmed to USNI News on Thursday.

USS McFaul (DDG-74) and USS Gonzalez (DDG-66) transited the Strait of Hormuz in the late afternoon local time without challenge from Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Navy (IRGCN), the sectarian military force responsible for Iran’s coastal defense and operations in the Strait of Hormuz, the defense officials confirmed.

U.S. Central Command did not provide additional details on the transit when reached by USNI News.

The transit of the two warships through the strait with no harassment from the IRGCN is a sign that tensions between Washington and Tehran have simmered since last week’s buildup of U.S. military forces in the Middle East.

As of Thursday, the Abraham Carrier Strike Group was operating off the coast of Oman while the USS Kearsarge (LHD-3) was off the coast of the United Arab Emirates near the entrance to the Persian Gulf, USNI News has learned.

Earlier this week, McFaul and Kearsarge left the Persian Gulf while carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) and its strike group quickly left the Mediterranean Sea and sailed swiftly through the Red Sea to the Gulf of Oman.

If the U.S. were to launch a military attack from the sea, it would best be able to do so from outside of the Persian Gulf, where Iranian forces have less maritime domain awareness and American ships would be further from hostile anti-ship missiles, USNI News understands.

The White House and the Pentagon claimed “indications of heightened Iranian readiness to conduct offensive operations against U.S. forces and our interests” as justification to move the Lincoln strike group into the Middle East earlier than planned and to deploy an Air Force bomber task group and an Army Patriot anti-ballistic missile battery to the region. Read more

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