USS John C Stennis headed for Persian Gulf as Iran commissions new frigate

US Navy aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis is scheduled to enter Persian Gulf waters by the end of the week, ending an eight-month period of carrier strike group absence from the region.

USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) transits the Philippine Sea in November 2018. Photo: US Navy

According to Wall Street Journal who first reported the news, this is the longest period of US Navy aircraft carrier absence from the gulf in two decades.

Deploying USS John C. Stennis to the gulf is a clear show of force to Iran, Wall Street Journal cited unnamed defense officials as saying.

The carrier movement comes after Iran once again threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz as the US announced plans of new sanctions on Iranian oil exports.

The latest development also follows Iran’s commissioning of a new frigate on December 1. According to Iranian media reports, Iranian Navy ship Sahand is the third Moudge-class frigate and was commissioned at the Bandar Abbas navy base.

John C. Stennis will operate in the Persian Gulf after concluding dual carrier exercises with USS Ronald Reagan in the Philippine Sea and visiting Singapore in November this year.