As standoff deepens, U.S. tries coalition-building on Iran reports: “In seeking a coalition at sea to monitor Iran, the United States is hoping to present a united front at a time when its hawkish policy has aggravated tensions and key allies are at loggerheads.

General Joseph Dunford, the top US military officer, said the United States would take the commanding role and provide surveillance as other countries escort vessels under their own flags.

‘I think probably over the next couple weeks we’ll identify which nations have the political will to support that initiative and then we’ll work directly with the militaries to identify the specific capabilities that’ll support that,’ Dunford said Tuesday.

He said the coalition would operate both in the Strait of Hormuz — the chokepoint to the Gulf through which 20 percent of the world’s oil flows — and the Bab el-Mandeb, the crucial shipping line into the Red Sea off war-battered Yemen.

The budding coalition comes as tensions soar with Iran, which shot down a US spy drone and has been blamed by Washington for a series of sabotage attacks on oil tankers…”

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