The United States has sent more than 3,000 naval forces, including the Marines, to the Red Sea in response to an Iranian seizure of a tanker in the region.

The U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet confirmed that the American sailors and Marines arrived aboard two military vessels, which entered the Red Sea via the Egyptian Suez Canal.

Fifth Fleet spokesperson, Commander Tim Hawkins confirmed the purpose of the deployment was “to deter destabilizing activity and de-escalate regional tensions caused by Iran’s harassment and seizures of merchant vessels.”

The Islamic Republic of Iran’s naval forces regularly harass international commercial tankers in the Persian Gulf region. However, the ayatollah regime in Tehran rejected the notion that Washington seeks regional stability in the Middle East.

“The US government’s military presence in the region has never created security. Their interests in this region have always compelled them to fuel instability and insecurity,” claimed Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Nasser Kanani. “We are deeply convinced that the countries of the Persian Gulf are capable of ensuring their own security.”

Meanwhile, Iran’s spokesperson for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Ramazan Sharif, told the Iranian state news agency IRNA that Tehran “has reached a level of strength and power that can reciprocate any vicious act by the US, such as seizing ships.”

Iran has increasingly stepped up its aggression in the Middle East amid America’s perceived retreat from the region. In April, Washington sent USS Florida, a nuclear-powered submarine, to counter the growing Iranian threat against its neighbors and international commercial naval traffic in the Middle East.

Torbjorn Soltvedt from the risk intelligence firm Verisk Maplecroft, warned that security will remain an issue of contention in U.S.-Gulf ties in the foreseeable future.

“Security will remain a friction point in US-Gulf relations even if the threat posed by Iranian attacks against shipping eases in the short term,” Soltvedt told the Agence France-Presse (AFP) new agency.

“The perception that the US isn’t doing enough to deter Iranian attacks against international shipping will persist,” he said.

“The need for a new approach is evident,” the security analyst added.

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