Photo: Reuters

Trump threatens to ‘shoot Iranian ships out of the water’

Tensions in the Persian Gulf are once again soaring between Iran and the United States.

As previously reported by TV7, naval vessels belonging to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) engaged in provocative maneuvers against the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard on international waters of the strategic waterway followed by yet another such reported incident a day later. While the clash was blatantly rejected as ‘baseless’ by Iran’s Defense Minister Amir Hatami, the second was covered by Iranian state television which referred to the U.S. battle group as “terror-vessels.”

U.S. President Donald Trump responded to these latest developments by instructed the American Navy to destroy any Iranian vessels that attempt a similar maneuver.

“We don’t want their gunboats surrounding our boats, traveling around our boats and having a good time. We don’t want them anywhere near our boats. So, you know the order I gave,” said the U.S. leader. He went on to clarify that, “I don’t have to say it again, I’ve given that order. Under the Obama administration, it was taking place all the time. Under my administration, I gave this order early on and nothing happened.” Saying, “They were very nice. There was no problem,” Trump added, “But, then I noticed yesterday they did that, in a much lighter form, but they did that again. I said, we’re not going to stand for it.”

“So, if they do that, that’s putting our ships in danger and our great crews and sailors in danger,” the U.S. President declared, vowing, “I’m not going to let that happen – and we will. They’ll shoot them out of the water.”

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addressed other malign Iranian behavior, including yesterday’s declaration by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) that it had successfully launched a military-grade satellite into orbit. While Tehran officials repeatedly insisted that the country’s space program is solely for civilian purposes, top IRGC commander Hossein Salami confirmed that, “After this important achievement, we made a leap in the field of strategic intelligence and information (gathering) capability.”

Secretary Pompeo reacted to Salami’s brazen admission and acknowledgement of the satellite as “military-grade” in an official statement on the IRGC website by highlighting the Islamic Republic’s continuance of terror-related activities while propagating a campaign of deception vis-à-vis the international community.

“The Iranians have consistently said that these missile programs were disconnected from their military, that these were purely commercial enterprises. I think today’s launch proves what we’ve been saying all along here in the United States: The IRGC, a designated terrorist organization, launched a missile today,” stressed Pompeo. He went on state that “every nation has an obligation to go to the United Nations,” because Iran should be held accountable for violating Security Council Resolution 2231. “They’ve now had a military organization that the United States has designated terrorists attempt to launch a satellite,” said Pompeo.

The top American diplomat further stressed that the true nature of the Ayatollah regime has been revealed by these actions, which occurred while the country’s people suffer from the coronavirus pandemic. “The Iranian regime has gone around the world spreading disinformation in response to this virus. One of the things they’ve said is that, boy, we need resources in order to take care of the virus at home. And all the while they are launching satellites, driving ships around the Arabian Gulf, coming and harassing U.S. naval vessels. They continue to underwrite Shia militias, they’re working to support Hezbollah,” he said. “Yesterday my Iranian counterpart – or the day before – was in Syria talking to the ‘Butcher in Damascus,’ he said.

“I hope that the Iranian regime will respond to the Iranian people’s demands to prioritize resources, resources that the Iranian regime clearly has, to the health and security and safety of the Iranian people – rather than continuing their global terror campaign. You can see they’re still hard at it. You can see they still have resources,” stressed Pompeo.

Reminding the world that Tehran rejected Washington’s offer of humanitarian assistance as soon as COVID-19 erupted in Iran, Pompeo underscored, “That offer still stands. We’ve assisted other countries in delivering humanitarian assistance to the Iranian people. I only wish that the Iranian regime cared about its people as much as the rest of the world has demonstrated that it does.”

Meanwhile in Brussels, the High Representative of the European Union unabashedly condemned the United States over its refusal to lift its international sanctions on the Islamic Republic – stopping short from mere mention of its latest military-related developments. “I regret, really, I regret that the Americans, the United States, are opposing the International Monetary Fund (from) taking this decision (to provide Iran with economic aid to help deal with the coronavirus pandemic),” said E.U. Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell, saying that in his view, “from a humanitarian point of view, this request should have been accepted.”

The top EU Diplomat further claimed that Iran is in dire need of additional financial support due to a lack of funds to battle further spread of the disease. “The problem is the capacity of Iran to have the capital, to have the resources to buy, to pay for the resources they need in order to fight against the coronavirus,” said Borrell, adding, “And for that humanitarian fact, they have needs they cannot fulfil due to the fact they don’t have the capital required for that.”

It is important to note that while an accurate assessment of the cost of the IRGC launch has yet to be ascertained, intelligence sources told TV7 that the price can be as high as half a billion U.S. dollars – excluding unspecified military hardware.