The U.S. and its allies have gathered warships in the Persian Gulf for what Washington describes as maneuvers to improve mine detection and clearance.

The maneuvers come as tensions over Iran’s nuclear program reach an apex.

Iran has threatened in the past to block the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic waterway in the Persian Gulf that sees the passage of 40 percent of the world’s oil exports.

The U.S. Naval Forces Central Command says 30 countries are involved in the naval exercises.

Reuters quoted U.S. Admiral John W. Miller saying: “This exercise is about mines and the international effort to clear them. Represented here are the best of our individual countries' efforts dedicated to securing the global maritime commons, and I look forward to seeing how this exceptional team of professionals moves forward."

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, has called on the U.S. and world powers to set a “red line” for Iran, and he claimed on Sunday that Iran was just six to seven months from developing nuclear weapon capabilities.

Iran insists, however, that its nuclear program is peaceful.