Instead of focussing on the public health crisis and ways to reopen the economy, which was destroyed by the coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump is war-mongering with Iran. On Wednesday, he tweeted early in the morning, directing the US Navy to fire the Iranian gunboats that harass US ships in the sea. “I’ve instructed the United States Navy to shoot down and destroy any and all of the Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea,” Trump tweeted, raising the tensions between Tehran and Washington. This comes at a time when thousands of Americans are affected by the virus outbreak.
When asked for clarification, Vice Chairman of Joint Chiefs, General John Hyten, informed reporters that the tweet from the President was a warning to Iran and guide to our Navy commanders on how to respond to such aggressive acts. He further added - “If you come across waving by maintaining a safe distance, that’s one thing. But if there is a gun and they point it at me, that’s a different thing. We know exactly what that line is, and we will respond, respectively. The President’s message was crystal clear to us.” On the other hand, one of the Iranian armed forces spokesmen criticized the US government and suggested focusing on coronavirus in saving their fellow countrymen. “Instead of bullying others, the US government should use their efforts in saving the Americans who lost their jobs, infected by the virus and looking for help,” Abolfazl Shekarchi said, who is the senior spokesman of Iranian armed forces.
Trump’s tweet is the first encounter between the two countries since March when the Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah militia group attacked two US army personnel. Explaining the process of how the US Navy works, Michael Mulroy, who served as the Pentagon’s Middle East policy chief, said - “The US Navy works with a predefined set of rules when in their engagement with an enemy nation. The chain of commands is often reviewed to ensure they are consistent and are applicable laws of the sea and armed conflict. If any Iranian actions are a threat to US ships, our crew will handle the issue-based on the rules of engagement.” Ray Mabus, former Navy Secretary, said that the tweet from President is trying to distract from coronavirus, and the tweet isn’t enough to start the engagement. The US Navy requires formal orders from the Pentagon, not the orders from Tweets.
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
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