By Carlo Muñoz - 11/08/13 01:45 PM EST
The Pentagon has no plans of reducing the American military presence in the Persian Gulf, despite recent breakthroughs between Washington and Iran over the country's nuclear program.
Defense Department spokesman George Little told reporters on Friday he was unaware of any possible changes to U.S. military posture in the Gulf or Straits of Hormuz.
His comments come as Secretary of State John Kerry is meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in Geneva to try to get a preliminary deal that would loosen some sanctions if Iran freezes the most advanced aspects of its nuclear program.
Kerry's arrival in Geneva sparked confidence that a deal was at hand.
President Obama on Thursday defended the proposal as a “good deal” that could pave the way for a peaceful outcome to the standoff over Iran's nuclear program.
But Kerry warned that a final deal with Iran still faces serious challenges.
"I want to emphasize there are still some very important issues on the table that are unresolved. It is important for those to be properly, thoroughly addressed," Kerry said Friday.
"We hope to try to narrow those differences, but I don’t think anybody should mistake that there are some important gaps that have to be closed," he added.
The strong American naval presence in the Gulf and along the straits have long been part of the military posturing between Washington and Tehran, as Iran continues to bulk up its own military forces in conjunction with its nuclear program.
Last March, U.S. naval commanders beefed up its presence along the straits, doubling the number of Navy mine-hunting ships and aircraft carrier deployments, in response to Iranian threats to shut down the main waterway at the time.
Iran eventually backed off its claims to the waterway, but warned the Pentagon not to send Navy carriers back to the Persian Gulf.
It was a warning the Pentagon declined to heed, as it sent two carriers through the strait weeks later without incident.