The United States is planning to launch a new surveillance and intelligence initiative with its allies to preserve the "free and open passage" for ships in the Straits of Hormuz and in the Persian Gulf, in the wake of the recent seizure of British vessel in the region by Iran.
"We are starting a concept called Sentinel in which we will have a series of countries engaged to preserve the free and open passage of commerce in the Strait of Hormuz and in the Persian Gulf," Al Jazeera quoted John Rood, the US Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, as saying on Saturday.
Root added that Washington has held discussions with NATO allies, some of its "partners in the Gulf" and others to join efforts to keep the "vital waterway" open. The operation would "come into being in the coming days and weeks."
"The idea is to have additional sentinels being able to observe activity in the Gulf with intelligence and surveillance assets, having a naval and air presence to restore stability and also having the capability to respond," Root added.
Washington is concerned that a "miscalculation" by Iran, could lead to an "unintended conflict" in the Gulf. Tensions in the region are high following the recent seizure of a British flag oil tanker by Iran in the Strait of Hormuz.
In addition, the US has blamed Iran for a series of attacks on vessels around the Strait of Hormuz, which the latter has denied. (ANI)