Robert Faturechi, Megan Rose og T. Christian Miller for ProPublica:
“We certainly have the ability to do it,” Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said last month about closing the Strait of Hormuz, a critical commercial passageway. “But we certainly don’t want to do it because the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf are our lifeline.”
Sailors in the 5th Fleet’s minesweeping operations said they have watched the escalation of hostility in the Persian Gulf — the downing of drones by Iran and the U.S., masked gunmen rappelling from an Iranian helicopter to seize a British-flagged oil tanker — with a mix of excitement and pessimism. They are eager to contribute but doubt their ability to do so.
Asked if the ships could effectively find and remove mines in the Gulf if they had to, one officer was blunt: “No.”