US President Donald Trump has instructed the US Navy to “shoot down and destroy” Iranian vessels “if they harass our ships at sea”, amid increasing tensions in the Hormuz Straits.
“I have instructed the United States Navy to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea,” Trump wrote in a tweet, a couple of hours after Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) reported it had launched its first military satellite into orbit.
President Trump said on Wednesday 22 April he had instructed the US Navy to open fire on any Iranian ships that harass it at sea.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif responded to US President Donald Trump’s threats saying that US troops have nothing to do in the Persian Gulf.
“Over 5000 COVID-19 infections hit the US military. Donald Trump should attend to their needs, not engage in threats cheered on by Saddam’s terrorists. Also, US forces have no business 7,000 miles away from home, provoking our sailors off our OWN Persian Gulf shores.,” Zarif tweeted.
The announcement comes a week after eleven vessels from IRGC Navy on 15 April came close to US Navy and Coast Guard ships in the Gulf amid heightening tensions between Washington and Tehran.
According to a US military statement, the IRGCN vessels approached six US military vessels while they were conducting operations with Army helicopters in international waters in the Gulf.
It was reported that at one of the Iranian vessels came within 10 yards of the US Coast Guard cutter Maui.
“The IRGCN’s dangerous and provocative actions increased the risk of miscalculation and collision, were not in accordance with the internationally recognized Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS) “rules of the road” or internationally recognized maritime customs, and were not in accordance with the obligation under international law to act with due regard for the safety of other vessels in the area” the US military said in a statement