The seriousness of the incident in the Straits of Hormuz involving IRGC naval patrol boats and US warships is now becoming clear.
The commander of Bahrain-based US Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT), Vice Adm. Kevin Cosgriff, today characterized the behavior of IRGC as “unduly provocative."
Adm. Cosgriff said the US ships received a radio call that was “threatening in nature, to the effect that they were closing on our ships and ... the U.S. ships would explode.”
The US Navy has not yet released any audio recording of the Iranian threatening statements to back up its version of the incident.
President Bush today also said Iran committed "a provocative act" in the Strait of Hormuz when Iranian speedboats approached three US Navy ships and threatened that the ships would explode.
"It was a provocative act. It's a dangerous situation and they should not have done it, pure and simple," said President Bush.
US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates also weighed in, “This is a very volatile area and the risk of an incident escalating is real. [The incident] is a reminder that there is a very unpredictable government in Tehran.”
The Iranian government is insisting that the behavior of Revolutionary Guards were “normal.” The foreign ministry spokesman told reporters in Tehran that the Iranian patrol boats were just asking the Americans to identify themselves. He denied US reports that the Iranians made any threatening moves against US warships.
IRGC boats have been patrolling the Straight of Hormuz for a long time now and on numerous occasions had asked the American ships to identify themselves. The Iranian government did not offer any explanation as to why only this time the US Navy regarded their behavior as provocative.