Iranian gunboats have been harassing US Navy vessels and those of allied nations for the past several years. In 2016, the Islamic Republic went so far as to take 10 US sailors captive after their boats ventured into Iranian waters.
But such adventurism by the Iranians is now far more likely to spark a major confrontation, and possibly even a global war (some fear), after US President Donald Trump ordered his naval forces to no longer turn a blind eye to such harassment in the Persian Gulf.
I have instructed the United States Navy to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 22, 2020
“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 tweeted on Wednesday.
If it comes to that, the outbreak of major hostilities between Iran and the US are to be expected. While a regional war would be devastating for everyone, both Israel and the Arab states have long been pressing American to militarily confront Iran’s hegemonic aspirations in the Middle East.
Iran has repeated warned that one of its first actions in a war with the US would be to launch missiles at Israel.