Pretty soon the scenes of tiny Iranian speedboats taunting U.S. Naval Destroyers may not be confined to just the Persian Gulf as Iran's new naval commander has vowed to send warships to the Gulf of Mexico "in the near future." Per NBC:
Rear Adm. Hossein Khanzadi said plans were being drawn up for vessels to be deployed to the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean "in the near future." They would also visit South American countries, he added.
Speaking at his first press conference since being appointed, Khanzadi promised his navy would "wave the flag of our country in the Gulf of Mexico."
He pointed out that "the appearance of our vessels in the Mediterranean and Suez Canal shocked the world and the U.S. also made comments on it."
Of course, this isn't the first time Iran's military has pledged that its ships would enter the Gulf of Mexico. Khanzadi’s predecessor Rear Adm. Habibollah Sayyari made similar threats in 2014 claiming that Iran planned to send vessels close to American maritime borders as a counter to the U.S. Navy’s presence in the Persian Gulf. That said, Sayyari later cancelled the maneuvers “due to a change in schedule.”
Meanwhile, earlier this year in August, the Pentagon announced there had been 14 "unsafe" and/or "unprofessional" encounters between the U.S. and Iranian militaries during 2017...not to mention one of the most embarrassing "unsafe" encounters of Obama's Presidency that came after Iran captured 10 American soldiers and held them captive for 15 hours. The soldiers were later release unharmed but only after after they were forced to issue apologies while be filmed kneeling by the Iranian Guard. Here's a recap of that event for those who need a refresher:
On January 12, 2016, two United States Navy riverine command boats cruising from Kuwait to Bahrain with a combined crew of nine men and one woman on board strayed into Iranian territorial waters which extend three nautical miles around Farsi Island in Persian Gulf. Patrol craft of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Navy seized the craft and detained the crew at a military base on Farsi Island.
According to military sources the two RCBs were on a routine transit from Kuwait to Bahrain, which serves as the home port for Task Force 56 under the Fifth Fleet. They left Kuwait at 12:23 p.m local time and were scheduled to refuel with the U.S. Coast Guard Island Class Patrol Cutter USCGC Monomoy (WPB-1326) at 5 p.m. During the transit one RCB developed an engine problem and both boats stopped to solve the mechanical issue. During this time they drifted into Iranian waters. At 5:10 p.m the boats were approached by the two small Iranian center-console craft followed by two more boats. There was a verbal exchange between the Iranian and U.S personnel and the officer commanding the RCBs allowed the Iranian sailors to come aboard and take control. The Iranian forces made the sailors kneel with their hands behind their heads. The RCBs reported their engine failure to Task Force 56 and all communications were terminated after the report. A U.S. search-and-rescue effort was launched leading to "robust bridge-to-bridge communications" with Iranian military vessels, wherein the Iranians informed U.S. Navy cruiser USS Anzio at 5:15 p.m that “the RCBs and their crew were in Iranian custody at Farsi Island and were safe and healthy.”
The IRGC stated that they released them after their investigation concluded the "illegal entry into Iranian water was not the result of a purposeful act."
At first, it was suggested that a mechanical failure in at least one of the boats led them to the Iranian waters, then it was verified that both boats returned to base under their own power. However, American military officials could not explain how they had lost contact with both of the boats.
The commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards naval forces claimed that the US apologized to Iran for incident. However, the US Government has stated that no apology was made.
Of course, the current administration is unlikely to be quite as accommodating of Iran's provocations as the previous with President Donald Trump branding Iran's government a "murderous regime" and warning of its "sinister vision for the future."
Something tells us that if Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi tries for a repeat of previous provacations that were tolerated by the Obama administration he probably shouldn't expect a plane full of cash and/or an apology from the current White House.
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