- Two US guided-missile destroyers sailed through the Strait of Hormuz and into the Persian Gulf on Thursday, according to USNI News.
- The US warships entered the waterway without harassment, but on Friday, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ deputy for parliamentary affairs warned that Iran’s missiles could hit US ships in the Gulf.
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Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards warned that Iranian missiles could hit US ships in the Gulf after two US Navy destroyers entered the waterway to send a message to Tehran.
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS McFaul and USS Gonzalez sailed through the Strait of Hormuz and entered the Gulf Thursday. One of the ships was recently deployed to the region with the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group in response to signs of possible Iranian aggression.
Senior leadership in the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) issued a warning after the ships entered the Persian Gulf. Mohammad Saleh Jokar, the IRGC’s deputy head of parliamentary affairs, told Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency that “even our short-range missiles can easily reach [US] warships in the Persian Gulf,” Reuters reported.
While Iran has repeatedly issued threats and warnings over the past week, it does not appear to have taken any discernible steps to act on its rhetoric. The two US Navy destroyers sailed into the Gulf without harassment, which is a bit unusual.
“It was the quietest transit we have seen in a long time,” a US defence official told The Wall Street Journal. “The deterrence part of this is going pretty well.”
One interpretation of US intelligence, however, is that actions by Iran and its allies were taken in the belief that the US was preparing to strike them, though there are differing views within the Trump administration on the meaning of Tehran’s moves,according to The Journal.
Last week, the US decided to deploy a carrier strike group, a bomber task force, an amphibious landing ship, and a missile defence battery to the US Central Command area of responsibility in response to what the command said were “clear indications that Iranian and Iranian proxy forces were making preparations to possibly attack US forces in the region.”
The decision to boost CENTCOM’s firepower was reportedly triggered by satellite images showing Iranian paramilitary forces loading missiles onto small boats for an unknown purpose, although there may have been other considerations.
These movements have led some observers to conclude that the Trump administration desires war with Iran, but the White House and the Pentagon have publicly stated that the US does not seek conflict.
This is a deterrence mission – a reminder, according to the White House, that the US is prepared to respond with “unrelenting force” should Iran move to attack US interests in the region.
When asked Thursday if the US is going to war with Iran, Trump responded, “I hope not.”