Washington: Iran has not drawn back to a less threatening military posture in the region following the 14 September attack on Saudi Arabia, the top US admiral in the Middle East told Reuters, suggesting persistent concern despite a lull in violence.

“I don’t believe that they’re drawing back at all,” Vice Admiral Jim Malloy, commander of the US Navy’s Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet, said in an interview. The United States, Saudi Arabia, Britain, France and Germany have publicly blamed the attack on Iran, which denies involvement in the strike on the world’s biggest crude oil-processing facility. The Iran-aligned Houthi militant group in Yemen has claimed responsibility.

Malloy did not comment on any US intelligence guiding his assessment. But he acknowledged that he monitored Iranian activities closely, when asked if he had seen any concerning movements of Iranian missiles in recent weeks.  He also monitors whether Iran’s minelaying capabilities head to distribution sites or away from them. “I get a briefing of movements on a daily basis and then assessments as to what that could mean,” he said. Relations between the United States and Iran have deteriorated sharply since President Donald Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear accord last year and reimposed sanctions on its oil exports. Reuters

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