President Donald Trump said he’s ordered the U.S. Navy to destroy any Iranian gun boats that harass American ships at sea.
Trump issued the warning “to shoot down and destroy” the ships in a tweet sent from his iPhone Wednesday morning. It comes after 11 gunboats from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps crossed the bows and sterns of American ships at close range last week.
I have instructed the United States Navy to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 22, 2020
According to Washington, 11 speedboats from the Revolutionary Guards repeatedly crossed the bow and the stern of American ships patrolling the Gulf, “in extremely close range and at high speed”.
Tehran, in response, complained about the US “Hollywood” version of what happened and accused the US Navy of “unprofessional” behavior in the Gulf.
Tehran accuses Washington of having “blocked” an Iranian ship in early April, displaying “dangerous behavior and ignoring warnings” by the ship. Iranian authorities have insisted that US forces must leave the area, a point recently made by Foreign Minister Mohamad Yavad Zarif in a tweet he called “annual reminder.”
Tensions between the United States and the Islamic Republic have intensified markedly since Washington decided in May 2018 to unilaterally denounce the international Iranian nuclear agreement (concluded in 2015) and reinstate punitive economic sanctions against Tehran.
They peaked after the elimination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in an American drone strike in Baghdad on January 3rd.