A troubling confrontation in the Persian Gulf:
The U.S. military reported Monday on a “significant” confrontation involving five Iranian Revolutionary Guard boats that “harrassed and provoked” three U.S. naval ships in international waters over the weekend.
U.S. military officials said the incident occurred Saturday night in the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow shipping channel leading in and out of the Persian Gulf.
The five Iranian ships made “threatening” moves — in one case coming within 200 yards of a U.S. ship, the U.S. officials said.
In one radio transmission, the Iranians told the U.S. Navy: “I am coming at you. You will explode in a couple of minutes,” the U.S. military officials told CNN.
When the U.S. ships heard that radio transmission, they manned their gun positions and officers were “in the process” of giving the order to fire when the Iranians abruptly turned away, the U.S. officials said.
No shots were fired and no one was injured in the confrontation.
I’d say that they were probing our defenses. The Iranians are not going to attack us directly, they’re not that stupid, but the information gathered in this exercise could be passed on to Iranian state sponsored terrorists or used in retaliatory strikes if we launch an air campaign. It’s the radio transmission that I find really odd here. We’ve had problems with these boats before but I’ve never heard of a case where the Iranians verbally threatened to attack.
Mike Nizza of The Lede links to Navy video of the event and a transcript. While it’s helpful to see supporting evidence I should make it clear that I wasn’t expressing doubts about the Navy’s report in my initial post. I’m just really surprised by the hostile radio exchange.