The head of the US Central Command called on Iran to stop what he called “provocative” actions in the Gulf, where Iranian speedboats have sped past US warships, and accused the Islamic Republic’s leadership of trying to create instability in the region. CENTCOM Commander General Joseph Votel noted in a Pentagon press briefing that Iran was alone in carrying out what he said was the “unprofessional” harassment of navy vessels in international waters.
“I guess I would point out this, is that Iran’s actions here, in the Arabian Gulf, are unlike anybody else. No one else does what they do in the Arabian Gulf. They don’t go out and they don’t drive fast boats towards military vessels in the same way that they do. Nobody else does that in international waters. And so what I call on Iran to do is to be the professional force that they claim to be. Professional militaries, professional maritime forces don’t operate in that way,” said Votel.
This is not the first maritime incident, in which the Iranian navy provokes American war vessels. On the 25th of August, four Iranian vessels, belonging to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, were said to “harass” a US warship near the Strait of Hormuz. A US Defense official said at the time that two of the Iranian vessels came within 300 yards of the USS Nitze, ignoring communication efforts by the Americans to stay away. According to General Votel the Iranian provocative actions may escalate in a dangerous manner, accusing Iran’s leadership of trying to destabilize the region.