Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps warned the United States on Thursday that they would destroy U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf that were considered a threat to Iranian security.
“I have ordered our naval forces to destroy any American terrorist force in the Persian Gulf that threatens security of Iran’s military or non-military ships,” said Major General Hossein Salami, the commander-in-chief of the Revolutionary Guards, Reuters reports. “Security of the Persian Gulf is part of Iran’s strategic priorities.”
The warning comes one day after President Trump said he ordered the U.S. Navy to “destroy” hostile 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,” he said on Twitter.
I have instructed the United States Navy to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 22, 2020
The tit-for-tat warnings come a week after 11 Iranian vessels harassed six U.S. Navy warships conducting drills in international waters off Iran.
Repeated radio warnings from the U.S. ships went unanswered for roughly one hour, when the vessels finally responded and backed off.
Tehran blamed its longtime adversary for the incident. On Thursday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry summoned the Swiss ambassador in Tehran, who represents U.S. interests in the country, over the recent tensions between Tehran and Washington.
“I am telling the Americans that we are absolutely determined and serious in defending our national security, our water borders, our shipping safety, and our security forces, and we will respond decisively to any sabotage,” Salami said.
“Americans have experienced our power in the past and must learn from it.” (Reuters)
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif urged President Trump to focus instead of members of the U.S. military affected by coronavirus.
The US military is hit by over 5000 #covid19 infections. @realdonaldtrump should attend to their needs, not engage in threats cheered on by Saddam's terrorists.— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) April 23, 2020
Also, US forces have no business 7,000 miles away from home, provoking our sailors off our OWN Persian Gulf shores. pic.twitter.com/7CjzabkyVK