IRAN has deployed warships as the US dispatched a carrier strike group to the Persian Gulf amid rising tensions between the two nations.
Iranian forces have scrambled their navy, according to national media, to the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden.
It comes as USS John C. Stennis and its strike group of destroyers and submarines is set to arrive in the nearby Persian Gulf.
The move has been described as a “show of force against Iran” by US media – and Iran has often squared up to US vessels in the region.
US officials have slapped new sanctions on Iran targeting its oil industry after the regime was accused of testing missiles.
Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi claimed that Iran has moved its warships into Gulf.
“We have been very clear with the Iranian regime that we will not hesitate to use military force when our interests are threatened. ”
US envoy Brian Hook Iranian leader Hassan Rouhani made fresh threats against the Arab Gulf today as he stood against US sanctions.
He once again alluded to Iran closing access to the Gulf, after previously warning the US “not to play with the lion’s tail”.
He said: ""America should know... it is not capable of preventing the export of Iran's oil," Rouhani said at a televised rally in Semnan province. "If it ever tries to do so... no oil will be exported from the Gulf.”
USS John C. Stennis is set to sail in the Persian Gulf for the next two months. Its deployment is set to “provide deterrence” to Iran should the Islamic republic make any drastic moves.
Iran’s military leadership has constantly threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz. The key waterway links the crude oil of the Middle East to markets around the world.
Iran and the US have plunged into tension following President Donald Trump axing the so-called nuclear deal.
The agreement was a pledge for Iran to stop developing nuclear weapons in exchange for eased sanctions.
Trump claimed it was a “bad deal” and that Iran had been violating it by developing missiles. He slashed the deal, which is still being propped up by European nations, and renewed tough sanctions on the regime.
Brian Hook, the State Department's Special Envoy for Iran, said: "We have been very clear with the Iranian regime that we will not hesitate to use military force when our interests are threatened.
"I think they understand that. I think they understand that very clearly.
"I think right now, while we have the military option on the table, our preference is to use all of the tools that are at our disposal diplomatically.”
Iran unveiled a new destroyer this week that it claimed was capable of stealth and was armed with advanced weapons.