Washington, April 22: Signalling a further escalation of the rough ties with rival Iran, US President Donald Trump on Wednesday said the country's naval forces were instructed to respond lethally in case of any misadventure by Tehran. In a statement on Twitter, Trump claimed that he has ordered the US Navy to "shoot down" the Iranian ships in Persian Gulf if they challenge the American vessels stationed in the region. Iran Successfully Launches First Military Satellite, Says Revolutionary Guard.
"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 said. The announcement by the American head of state comes nearly a week after 11 ships of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) attempted to encircle the six military vessels of the United States in North Persian Gulf.
See Donald Trump's Tweet
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
For nearly one hour, the Iranian ships "repeatedly crossed the bows and sterns of the U.S. vessels at extremely close range and high speeds," said a statement issued by the US Navy Central Command on last Thursday. The Iranian gunboats came as close as 50 yards away from the US ships, it alleged.
The American vessels, at the time when they were being harassed by the Iranian gunboats, were conducting air integration exercises with U.S. Army AH-64E Apache attack helicopters.
The following six warships of the US are stationed in the North Persian Gulf: Lewis B. Puller, the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer Paul Hamilton, Cyclone-class of coastal patrol boat Firebolt, Cyclone-class patrol ship Sirocco, and Coast Guard ships Wrangell and Maui.