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Small Iranian military motorboats ride in the wake of U.S. Coast Guard cutter Adak in the Strait of Hormuz in this still image taken from January 6, 2012 video footage. Reuters/U.S. Department of Defense/Handout

Reuters: Iran uses maritime confrontations to project power in Gulf

Iran is using its sea power in the Gulf to show it will not be cowed by Washington's newly assertive Arab allies, prompting critics to accuse Tehran of destabilizing the region.

Iranian ships fired shots at a Singapore-flagged tanker which it said damaged an Iranian oil platform, causing the vessel to flee, and seized a container ship in the Strait of Hormuz, the world's most important oil route, over a debt row.

The incidents coincided with a push by Washington to reassure Gulf Arab monarchies that their interests would not be threatened by a nuclear accord that Tehran and world powers are trying to reach by the end of June.

In an escalating confrontation with Saudi Arabia over Yemen, Tehran criticized Arab states for recklessness and brutality in that country, where a Saudi-led coalition is attacking an Iranian-allied militia.

WNU Editor:The Iranian Navy is still "small" when compared to the U.S./western allies/Arab-GCC naval presence .... but Iran is still trying to project some influence with what they have while giving assurance to their allies that they will not abandon them.

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