US forces who were sent to the Persian Gulf at the beginning of the month in response to Iran's harassment of ships in the region will stay for as long as they're needed, deputy Pentagon press secretary Sabrina Singh told reporters on Tuesday.
"I can't predict the future. So I will say that, you know, as long as there remains a need for these forces to be in the region, they're going to stay there. They are there to deter any threats or unprofessional or unsafe behavior from IRGC-backed groups, and I'll just have to leave it at that."
Singh added that the US continues to see Iranian harassment in the Gulf.
"Over the past few weeks, we've seen harassment from IRGC-backed groups over commercial ships. And so as that continues, that's why we moved our forces into the region as we did. We have not seen that threat drop, I would say, so we haven't seen a reason to move our forces out. So until there is a change, you know, I'm just going to leave it at that."
Defense Department deploys more forces to counter Iran
In July, the Secretary of Defense ordered the deployment of an Amphibious Readiness Group/Marine Expeditionary Unit (ARG/MEU), the destroyer USS Thomas Hudner, and F-35 and F16 fighters into the Middle East in response to attempts by Iran to seize commercial ships in the region.
The announcement came after the Iranian Navy tried to seize two merchant vessels in the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman in one day.
Earlier this month, the extra forces arrived in the region, including over 3,000 sailors and Marines on the USS Bataan and dock landing ship USS Carter Hall.