Trump Orders Military to Destroy Iranian Boats Harassing US Ships
As tensions between the US and Iran ramp up again in the Middle East, President Donald Trump has authorized the country’s military to use force if American vessels are targeted or their operations are interrupted. “I have instructed the United States Navy to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea,” President Trump wrote on Twitter. The order comes a week after 11 Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) speedboats swarmed US Navy and Coast Guard ships that were partaking in an exercise in international waters in the Gulf. The Pentagon accused the Iranians of “dangerous and provocative actions… [by] repeatedly cross[ing] the bows and sterns of the US vessels at extremely close range and high speeds.” President Trump’s decision followed a claim on Wednesday by the IRGC that it had successfully launched a military satellite into orbit. Critics of the regime argue that Tehran’s space program contravenes the “spirit” of the 2015 multilateral nuclear deal, in addition to UN Security Council resolutions, given that “dual-use” technology required to send a satellite into orbit can also be used to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles, one of the primary delivery mechanisms for a nuclear warhead.