The United States has developed a plan under which an global military coalition would safeguard strategic waters off both Iran and Yemen, where Washington blames Iran and Iran-aligned fighters for attacks. It came amid increasing tensions between Washington and Tehran.
Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford said the Pentagon has developed a specific plan, and that he believes it will be clear within a couple of weeks which nations are willing to join the effort.
Allied nations joining the coalition would patrol waters near the US command ships and escort commercial vessels with their nation's flags through the heavily traveled waters between the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa.
Allies would patrol waters near those U.S. command ships and escort commercial vessels with their nation's flags.
Iran has long threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, through which nearly a fifth of the world's oil passes, if it was unable to export its oil, something President Trump's administration has sought as a way to pressure Tehran to renegotiate a deal on its nuclear program.
The US military is aiming to form a naval coalition of allies that would guarantee freedom of movement in strategic waters around the Arabian Peninsula.
U.S. President Donald Trump has vowed to reduce Iran's oil exports to zero as a means of pressuring Tehran to agree to talks on its nuclear program.
Almost 4 million barrels of oil are shipped daily through the Bab al-Mandab to Europe, the United states and Asia plus commercial goods.
USA officials have publicly discussed plans to safeguard the water lanes, but Dunford's remarks that the coalition would also seek to bolster security in the Bab al-Mandab off Yemen appeared to be a new element.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last month that he hoped more than 20 countries would work together on building maritime security in the region, including the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. Mr Dunford said the size of the campaign could be adjusted based on the number of countries that commit to it.
"We're getting ready now to move out", Dunford told a small group of reporters at Fort Myer, Virginia.