WASHINGTON - The US military carried out freedom of navigation operations challenging the maritime claims of China, Iran and 10 other countries last year, asserting its transit rights in defiance of efforts to restrict passage, a Pentagon report said on Thursday.

The Defense Department's annual Freedom of Navigation Report to Congress for the 2013 fiscal year showed the US military targeted not only countries such as Iran, with whom it has no formal relations, but treaty allies such as the Philippines, too.

The US military conducted multiple operations targeting China over what Washington believes are "excessive" claims about its maritime boundaries and its effort to force foreign warships to obtain permission before peacefully transiting its territorial seas.

US operations challenging Iran were aimed at rejecting Tehran's effort to restrict the Strait of Hormuz to ships from nations that have signed the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, an accord the United States has not formally adopted.


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