Vice Adm. Kevin Donegan, commander of the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, made the comments during an interview with The Associated Press at the opening day of the Dubai Airshow.
He was careful not to underplay the significance of Tehran’s willingness to come to the negotiating table to hammer out a deal completed in July that gives it broad sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.
But he noted that other actions such as attempts to smuggle military equipment to Yemen and harassing ships transiting the Gulf continue just as they did before the agreement.
“We’re still concerned about Iran’s behavior overall. Positive about the nuclear agreement, but concerned … about some of their malign behavior related to other things unrelated to the nuclear issue,” he said.
Aside from the nuclear negotiations, “I don’t know that we’ve seen a change in behavior,” he added, speaking aboard a P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol plane on display at the biennial show.
Donegan, a former Navy fighter pilot and aircraft carrier commander, took over as head of the 5th Fleet in September.
The naval force is based in the tiny Gulf island kingdom of Bahrain, just off the coast of Saudi Arabia. It is responsible for operations in a 2.5 million-square-mile area that includes the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf and the strategically vital Strait of Hormuz, the narrow waterway wedged between Iran and Oman that is the route for nearly a third of all oil traded by sea.
In September, a ship assigned to a multinational naval force led by the 5th Fleet commander intercepted a vessel carrying anti-tank missiles and other equipment believed to be from Iran.
That seizure came months after the U.S. sent an aircraft carrier and guided missile cruiser to the Arabian Sea amid concerns that a convoy of Iranian cargo ships was sending combat vehicles and other military equipment to Shiite rebels in Yemen.
“We don’t think that was the only shipment that was working its way to Yemen,” Donegan said. He declined to elaborate.
https://endtime.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/ap_ap-photo909-wi-640x427.jpg 427 640 alphatimes https://endtime.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/endtime-logo.png alphatimes2015-11-09 00:00:002018-03-28 16:59:51U.S. Admiral: Nuclear Deal Hasn’t Curbed Iran’s Aggression in Persian Gulf