Iran is beefing up it's firepower in the Persian Gulf, rapidly gaining new capabilities to strike at US warships, the Washington Post reported today.
According to analysts, the country is "amassing an arsenal of sophisticated anti-ship missiles while expanding its fleet of fast-attack boats and submarines."
However, this doesn't mean that the US Navy is looking to get defeated anytime soon. According to the Washington Post, US Navy officials are convinced that they would prevail in a fight. Regardless, Iran's military advances may have fueled concerns about US vulnerabilities.
The Atlantic Wire reported that though Iran can't really match the firepower of an US aircraft carrier group, they can still pack a punch to individual ships and "make life miserable for foreign powers trying to keep shipping lanes open."
And as Ynet points out, Iran’s ability to inflict significant damage if Israel or the US decide to bomb their nuclear facilities is substantially greater than it was a decade ago. A Pentagon study in April warned that Iran had made gains in the “lethality and effectiveness” of its arsenal.
However, US ships continue steaming toward the gulf as US and Middle Eastern officials acknowledge there are no good alternatives.
“It is a dilemma,” a Middle East intelligence official said to the Washington Post. “When the Navy ships are in the strait, they are vulnerable to attack. But if you were to take them away, the gulf countries would feel more vulnerable. And already they feel very, very vulnerable.”