President Donald Trump has ordered the US Navy to destroy any Iranian naval boats that harass or intimidate the American ships in the international waters of the Persian Gulf. The marching orders from the president come after 11 Iranian gunboats came dangerously close to the US ships in the Persian Gulf last week, the Bloomberg reported.
Trump sent the warning “to shoot down and destroy” through a tweet message from his iPhone on April 22, it said. According to the report, 11 attack vessels of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps had crossed the bows and sterns of the ships at close range to intimidate the US sailors.In a statement, the US Central Command called the Iranian maneuvers “dangerous and provocative” and the American commanders on the scene “retain the inherent right to act in self-defense”. It further said that at the time of the incident, the US vessels were conducting “joint integration operations” in the international waters of the Gulf.
The Iranian ships came within a 50-yard point of approach with the USS Lewis B. Puller and 10 yards of the bow of the Coast Guard cutter Maui, according to the statement. Iran has disrupted the shipping routes in the Persian Gulf and wants to undermine the US interests in the Middle East by using asymmetrical warfare. Trump’s comments could further increase the hostilities between the two countries.During the Obama administration, instances of intimidation of US ships by the members of the Revolutionary Guard Corps have also been common, although the encounters usually ended with the US warnings to back off. In 2017, a US Navy guided-missile naval destroyer fired warning shots at four Iranian rapid-attack craft in the Strait of Hormuz.
Tensions between the two countries had reached a new high in recent times after the US killed a tyrannical Iranian general, Qassem Soleimani, in a drone attack last year. A few months earlier, Iran had shot down a US Navy surveillance drone, claiming illegal intrusion into its territory. General Soleimani’s killing last year, prompted an Iranian counter-attack on a US base in Iraq but it didn’t kill anyone.
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