Tensions flare in the Persian Gulf as an Islamic state threatens American sailors.
The United States Navy was forced to fire warning shots at an Iranian naval vessel encroaching on the USS Thunderbolt. The Iranian vessel was less than 150 yards away before turning back after warning shots were fired, according to the AP.
A Cyclone-class patrol ship, the USS Thunderbolt, was engaged in naval exercises with our allies and other American ships in the Persian Gulf.
The Iranian government opposes all American activity in the Persian Gulf and have been launching provocations against American vessels deployed in the waterway.
The USS Thunderbolt is deployed with the Navy’s Fifth Fleet based out of Bahrain. The fleet is responsible for naval operations in the Middle East.
The Iranian vessel approached the USS Thunderbolt last Thursday while ignoring all communications. The foreign ship refused to respond to radio communications, warning sirens, or flares.
The USS Thunderbolt was forced to fire a warning shot as the Iranian ship continued to approach. After the warning shot, the Iranian vessel went “dead in the water” and turned back.
The Iranian government has been increasing their aggression against American forces operating out of the Persian Gulf over the last few years.
The majority of the hostilities have been focused around the Strait of Hormuz. Almost 1/3 worldwide oil shipments by sea pass through the mouth of the Persian Gulf.
Last year, the United States Navy recorded at least 35 instances of “unsafe and/or unprofessional” interactions where Iranian ships undermined American operations in the region. This is up from 23 unfavorable interactions in 2014 indicating that the Iranians are growing more hostile.
The largest provocation occurred last year when Iranian forces captured ten American sailors holding them captive over night. The Iranian government proudly displayed pictures of the Americans on their knees with hands on their heads implying American weakness.
The Iranian government was emboldened by the Obama administration after the former President offered the Islamic regime billions to pursue their nuclear program.
If the Iranian government knew what was best, they would be backing off now that President Trump is in office. Unlike his predecessor, Trump will not let these provocations go unpunished.