Trump on Twitter tells US Navy to ‘shoot down and destroy’ Iranian boats that harass US ships

Trump on Twitter tells US Navy to ‘shoot down and destroy’ Iranian boats that harass US ships

“I have asked the United States Navy to fire and destroy all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea,” said Trump. wrote.

It is unclear whether Trump’s tweet amounts to a standing order and whether the central command, which oversees operations in the Middle East, would fire on an Iranian ship. Such an order would further increase the possibility of a miscalculation between the two long-standing enemies, who nearly went to war earlier this year after the United States killed a senior Iranian military commander.

Regardless of the practical effect of Trump’s tweet, this is the last provocative threat he has raised against Iran, and this comes in the midst of a careful review of his handling of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

CNN contacted the Pentagon and the White House for further comments.

Last week, the United States Navy released a video which indicates that Iranian navy vessels repeatedly conduct “dangerous and harassing approaches” to United States Navy warships in the North Arabian Sea and have claimed that an Iranian ship was within 10 meters of a collision with an American ship.

The video of the incident appears to show several ships flying the Iranian flag, men occupying guns at the front of these ships, passing in front of a US Navy ship. The guns do not seem to be aimed at the ship, which rang several times when the Iranian ships approached.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps admitted on Sunday that an incident had occurred, but dismissed the American version of the events as a “Hollywood fake tale,” in a news release released by the news agency. Iranian.

About half an hour before Trump tweeted on Wednesday, “Fox & Friends,” which Trump regularly watches, aired a segment on the incident, as well as a report on Iran launching its first military satellite into orbit. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Iran said the launch was successful, although CNN was unable to independently verify it.

Trump’s tweet doesn’t necessarily mean a quick change in policy. In 2017, he tweeted a directive to ban transgender members. The announcement blinded military officials and led General Joseph Dunford, then President of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to inform the military that there would be no immediate changes to current policy. After review and several court challenges, the ban came into effect last year.
Trump has repeatedly taken a tough stand against Iran and made bellicose threats against the nation. Tensions between the two countries increased sharply in January when the United States killed the second most powerful Iranian official, General Qasem Soleimani, and earlier this month Trump, without citing any evidence, said his administration was holding reports that “Iran or its proxies are considering a sneak attack on American troops and / or assets in Iraq.” He warned of a “high price” to be paid if such acts were committed.

This story has been updated to include additional background information.

CNN’s Barbara Starr, Sara Mazloumsaki and Ramin Mostaghim contributed to this report.

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