US warns US shipping that Iran may target commercial vessels

Tensions between the two countries mounting

By Barbara Starr and Veronica Stracqualursi, CNN
Mario Tama/Getty Images

Cargo ships and shipping containers

(CNN) - The U.S. Maritime Administration issued an advisory on Thursday warning commercial shipping vessels that Iran or its proxies could be targeting commercial vessels and oil production infrastructure.

The warning comes as tensions between the two countries are mounting and U.S. intelligence shows that Iran is likely moving short-range ballistic missiles aboard boats in the Persian Gulf, according to several U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the situation.

"Since early May, there is an increased possibility that Iran and/or its regional proxies could take action against U.S. and partner interests, including oil production infrastructure, after recently threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz. Iran or its proxies could respond by targeting commercial vessels, including oil tankers, or U.S. military vessels in the Red Sea, Bab-el-Mandeb Strait, or the Persian Gulf," the advisory read.

The advisory is active until Nov. 5, 2019.

On Sunday, U.S. national security adviser John Bolton announced that the United States is deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to the Middle East in response to a "number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings" from Iran.

On Thursday, CNN reported that U.S. intelligence indicates no sign of a "decrease in Iran's posture" or the intentions that prompted the U.S. to move the Navy strike group and B-52 bombers to the region, according to a U.S. official with direct knowledge of the latest intelligence.

"There is no intelligence to indicate a decrease in Iran's posture or intentions," the official told CNN.

Iranian commanders have made "no wave-off" to Iranian-backed militias and Revolutionary Guard Corps elements to stop planning for possible attacks against U.S. forces in the region, the official added.

"We are looking for anything to reflect a change in their behavior and are not seeing it," the official said.

CNN's Veronica Stracqualursi, Nicole Gaouette and Ryan Browne contributed to this report.

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