April 23, 2020
Donald Trump Says He Instructed The Navy To 'Shoot Down And Destroy' Iranian Gunboats That Harass US Ships

President Donald Trump warned on Twitter earlier this morning that he has instructed the United States Navy to "shoot down" Iranian gunboats should they demonstrate aggressive maneuvers.

"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 wrote in a tweet.

The message comes as tensions in the Persian Gulf have been heightened, despite the coronavirus pandemic raving both the United States and Iran.

According to The Hill, military officials claimed that just last week, 11 Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) boats made "dangerous and harassing approaches" to vessels owned by the Navy and Coast Guard while they were in international waters in the Persian Gulf.

"The IRGCN vessels repeatedly crossed the bows and sterns of the U.S. vessels at extremely close range and high speeds," the statement continued, adding that the boats aggressively ventured to come within 10 yards of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Maui.

"The IRGCN's dangerous and provocative actions increased the risk of miscalculation and collision, [and] were not in accordance with the internationally recognized Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea," it concluded.

Iran hit back at the claims, stating that American ships blocked the path for Iranian vessels and that it did not respond to radio communication, per Newsweek.

Read This: 10 Items You Can (And Should) Buy On Amazon Right Now

Shortly after the confrontation, the Persian nation did not hold back from adding to the friction between the two nations, issuing a statement that claimed it was in possession of missiles that could attack ships more than 400 miles away and boasting that it has boats that can travel three times faster than those of the U.S. Navy.

In addition to the statement, Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi, commander of Iran's regular navy, claimed on Friday that Iran was planning to develop a nuclear-powered submarine to match American might in the Persian Gulf.

us navy ships
Getty Images | Tomohiro Ohsumi

A U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency report released in November 2019 claimed that the combination of the missiles with Iran's speedboat fleet could pose a serious threat to U.S. forces in the region.

"Each of these forces are becoming increasingly survivable, precise, and responsive," concluded DIA Director Robert P. Ashley Jr.

Trump and the Iranian government have a rocky relationship that escalated in January after the president ordered a drone strike that killed Iranian General and Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani.

As was previously reported by The Inquisitr, Soleimani was blamed by the U.S. government for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition forces, in addition to approving the violent clashes at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad earlier this year.