The vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff praised President Donald Trump’s order this week to destroy Iranian gunboats that harass U.S. ships in the Persian Gulf, saying that if the the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism tries to take action against U.S. military forces that the U.S. force “will come large” after Iran.
“Well, I’ll just say that every capability that we deploy, every ship that deploys into harm’s way has the inherent right of self-defense, as the secretary just described,” Vice Chairman Gen. John Hyten told reporters. “What that means is if we see a hostile act, if we see hostile intent, we have the right to respond up to and including lethal force, and if it happens in the Gulf, if it happens in any way, we will respond with overwhelming lethal force, if necessary, to defend ourselves, and it’s really that simple. But nobody should doubt that the commanders have the authority right now to respond to any hostile act or hostile intent.”
Trump tweeted earlier in the week that the U.S. Navy has been instructed to “shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea” after 11 gunboats swarmed U.S. ships in the Persian gulf last week.
“So, I like that the president warned an adversary,” Hyten added. “That’s what he’s doing. He’s providing a warning. If you want to go down that path, we will come and we will come large, so don’t go down that path. That is what he’s saying. He’s saying it in clear, uncertain terms. We understand that direction, and every commander that’s deployed has the ability to execute that.”
The leader of Iran's Revolutionary Guard has warned he ordered his forces to potentially target the U.S. Navy after President Donald Trump's tweet a day earlier threatening to sink Iranian vessels. @JenGriffinFNC reports #specialreport pic.twitter.com/2iZxPDdIOc
— Bret Baier (@BretBaier) April 24, 2020
The U.S. Navy documented the incident in a statement last week from the terrorist regime against the U.S. ships:
On April 15, eleven Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) vessels repeatedly conducted dangerous and harassing approaches of the USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB 3), USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60), USS Firebolt (PC 10), USS Sirocco (PC 6), USCGC Wrangell (WPB 1332) and USCGC Maui (WPB 1304) while the U.S. vessels were conducting joint integration operations with U.S. Army AH-64E Apache attack helicopters in the international waters of the North Arabian Gulf.
The IRGCN vessels repeatedly crossed the bows and sterns of the U.S. vessels at extremely close range and high speeds, including multiple crossings of the Puller with a 50 yard closest point of approach (CPA) and within 10 yards of Maui’s bow.
The U.S. crews issued multiple warnings via bridge-to-bridge radio, five short blasts from the ships’ horns and long-range acoustic noise maker devices, but received no response from the IRGCN.
After approximately one hour, the IRGCN vessels responded to the bridge-to-bridge radio queries, then maneuvered away from the U.S. ships and opened distance between them.
Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander Gen. Hossein Salami ordered his naval units on yesterday that he ordered them to destroy American ships if they threatened Iran’s security.
“I have ordered our naval forces to destroy any American terrorist force in the Persian Gulf that threatens the security of Iran’s military or non-military ships,” Salami said. “Security of the Persian Gulf is part of Iran’s strategic priorities.”
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