President Trump sent out a warning via Twitter Wednesday, following harassing behavior exhibited by Iranian gunboats. The president told the Navy to “shoot down and destroy all Iranian gunboats” that attempt to harass U.S. ships.
Trump Orders Navy to Destroy Iranian Gunboats
“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 tweeted Wednesday.
The Pentagon later backed the president’s announcement, saying the tweet served as a lawful order. It also served as a stark warning against further action from Iran.
“The President issued an important warning to the Iranians. What he was emphasizing is all of our ships retain the right of self-defense and people need to be very careful in their interactions to understand the inherent right of self-defense,” said Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist, reported cnn.com.
Navy footage clearly shows Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy vessels repeatedly conduct unsafe, unprofessional, and ultimately threatening maneuvers around U.S. ships. The U.S. 5th Fleet steamed through the North Arabian Gulf at the time of the incident.
Despite the overwhelming video evidence, Iran remained defiant towards the U.S. and President Trump. After the footage went public, Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guard Corps acknowledged an incident took place, but called the U.S. version, based on Navy footage, a “fake Hollywood tale,” according to cnn.com.
However, U.S. officials made it clear Trump’s order provided a definitive warning to Iran. Further, the military will “apply that clear direction from the commander in chief into lawful orders,” said Gen. John Hyten, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, reported cnn.com.
“We don’t need any more direction in order to do that,” Hyten continued. “I think the President’s message was crystal clear and we don’t need any more actions.”