Iranian Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari last weekend inaugurated a naval base in Bandar Lengeh for what the semiofficial Fars News Agency said was a defensive move to protect Iranian islands in the Strait of Hormuz.
"The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps' fifth naval zone is a very sensitive and strategic zone and is a front line in defending the Islamic Iran," Jafari was quoted as saying.
As much as 40 percent of the world's maritime oil shipments travel through the Strait of Hormuz. The Fars report made no mention of disrupting oil shipments, though early 2012 threats to do so caused oil prices to spike on the international market.
British newspaper The Independent reported the government of Prime Minister David Cameron is considering whether to send fighter jets to a base in Abu Dhabi.
British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond was quoted as saying European countries need to "take a bigger role in relation to North Africa and the Middle East."