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US House Votes to Avert Naval Conflict With Iran

US House Votes to Avert Naval Conflict With Iran    US House Votes to Avert Naval Conflict With Iran

The US House of Representatives voted unanimously to require the Pentagon to consider setting up a communications channel with Iran to prevent an accidental military confrontation in the Persian Gulf.

The House voted on Thursday on an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that requires the Pentagon to consider an “Incidents at Sea Agreement” with Iran, Press TV reported.

The amendment faced no opposition from the 435 sitting representatives. The US House of Representatives is majority Republican. The NDAA had itself been passed in the house 344 to 81. The bill, which authorizes defense budget and policy, approved $696 billion in military spending for the fiscal 2018.

The Senate Armed Services Committee approved a version of the bill in June, but the full senate is yet to vote on the bill.

According to the amendment, the US Department of Defense “shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report assessing the relative merits of a multilateral or bilateral Incidents at Sea military-to-military agreement between the United States, the government of Iran and other countries operating in the Persian Gulf aimed at preventing accidental naval conflict in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz.”

The “appropriate committees” are defined in the amendment as the Committee on Armed Services and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate, as well as the Committee on Armed Services and the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives.

Iran maintains sovereign territory in the waters of the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, but under a regime of passage, Iran allows international innocent passage through parts of its maritime territory.

The US has heavy military presence in the region, including in the Persian Gulf, and US warships routinely sail in the waters. But the US military also ratchets up tensions in the region by occasionally trespassing into Iran’s territorial waters and alleges that its vessels come under “harassment” by Iranian patrol boats in the area.

 

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