THE president Trump administration is considering military action to keep open key oil shipping routes in the Middle East following escalating rhetoric between Iran and the US after Tehran attacked the waterways.
Trump administration officials have claimed that in the wake of attacks on Saudi oil tankers by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels on July 25, military options may be inevitable.
However, officials said military action would be taken by US allies such as Saudi Arabia, rather than American troops.
The sources added that any long-term military effort would require the involvement of other nations.
The claims, reported by CNN, came only a few days after Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen attacked a pair of Saudi oil tankers which were travelling through the Bab al-Mandab Strait leading to the Red Sea.
The waterway is one of the busiest shipping routes in the world.
Iranian leaders have also threatened to shut the Strait of Hormuz, through which one-third of the world’s oil supply travels from the Persian Gulf.
US Defence Secretary James Mattis emphasised the US intends to keep international oil shipping routes open.
On Friday, Mr Mattis noted “Iran has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz,” and that in the past Tehran has tried to stop shipments only to be met by an international military response, which includes military exercises.