American military official accuses Tehran of masterminding Houthi attacks

Are the U.S. and Iran closer to an armed conflict?

Tensions between the United States and Iran have reached new highs after the head of the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, Vice Admiral Brad Cooper, accused this week the government in Tehran of playing a “direct” role in the attacks of Yemen's Houthi rebels against commercial ships in the Gulf of Aden.

Iran's role includes funding, resourcing, supplying, and providing training to the Houthi movement, according to Cooper.

Houthi fighters in Yemen. Credit: CNBC

The commander stated that while he doesn't directly attribute individual attacks to Tehran, the Houthi actions have expanded beyond the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, affecting the broader Middle East.

He highlighted the region's precarious situation amid concerns of a wider conflict related to the Israel-Hamas war.

The U.S. Navy's Task Force 59, a drone fleet, plays a crucial role in monitoring and interdicting activities across Mideast waters. The recent decrease in Houthi attacks is attributed to increased naval patrols by the U.S. and its allies.

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Whether there will be new sanctions against Iran or other sort of measures remains to be seen. The Economist said in a recent comment that “America and Iran stepped closer to the brink of war.”

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