An Iranian general threatened to close the strategic Straits of Hormuz if the United States “makes a small mistake,” echoing a threat made two months ago by the deputy commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Iranian media reported on Tuesday.
“If the enemy makes a small mistake, we will shut the Strait of Hormuz, kill their sedition in the bud and endanger the arrogant powers’ interests,” said Brig. Gen. Ali Shadmani, deputy chief of staff of the Iranian army. His remarks were similar to those made by IRGC deputy commander Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami, who said in May, “If the Americans and their regional allies want to pass through the Strait of Hormuz and threaten us, we will not allow any entry.”
While Salami did not elaborate on what would constitute a threat, he also warned that “Americans should learn from recent historical truths,” an apparent reference to the seizure of two U.S. Navy patrol boats in January. Other Iranian military officials have cited the incident to mock the U.S., and Iranian media channels aired multiple propaganda videos about it.
While a U.S. Navy investigation blamed the incident on “failed leadership at multiple levels,” Admiral John Richardson, chief of naval operations, explained that it wouldn’t have occurred if Iran had not violated international law. The U.S. ships, which were captured in what Iran claimed was its territorial waters, “had every right to be where they were that day. The investigation concluded that Iran violated international law by impeding the boats’ innocent passage transit, and they violated our sovereign immunity by boarding, searching, and seizing the boats, and by photographing and video recording the crew.”
The U.S. Navy reported that in 2015, there were close to 300 encounters or “interactions” between American and Iranian naval vessels in the Persian Gulf. While most of the encounters were not considered to be harassment, the behavior of the Iranian navy was found to be less disciplined than that of other navies. Lt. Forrest Griggs, the operations officer of the USS New Orleans, explained that risks arise from the unpredictable behavior and uncertain intent of the Iranian vessels. “It’s very common for them to come up to within 300, 500 yards of us, and then they’ll turn, or parallel us and stop,” he said.
[Photo: Farsnews ]