AFP: The top US military officer warned Iran Friday not to mistake US restraint in an incident in the Strait of Hormuz for a lack of resolve, saying US warships would defend themselves. WASHINGTON (AFP) The top US military officer warned Iran Friday not to mistake US restraint in an incident in the Strait of Hormuz for a lack of resolve, saying US warships would defend themselves.
Admiral Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also said US Defense Secretary Robert Gates was considering releasing a videotape of the entire 15 to 30 minute incident amid questions about the US account.
“We’re not anxious to see a miscalculation here which could occur, and certainly not anxious to get into combat with them,” Mullen told reporters.
“But as I said in my opening statement, please do not misread restraint for lack of resolve, and those ship COs (commanding officers) will defend themselves,” he said.
The United States has charged that Iranian speedboats engaged in aggressive maneuvers around three US warships on Sunday as they passed through the Strait of Hormuz in international waters.
The Pentagon released an audio clip of a radio transmission received on the bridge of one of the US ships during the incident in which a voice is heard to say in accented English: “I am coming at you … You will explode in a few minutes.”
But Pentagon officials now say they do not know the source of the radio transmission, backing off a previous claim that it came from one of the boats.
The Pentagon released a four minute and 20 second video and audio clip earlier this week to support its charges that the Iranian speedboats were acting aggressively and ignoring warnings to stay clear.
Iran then aired its own video showing an Iranian commander in a speedboat contacting an American sailor via radio, asking him to identify the US vessels and state their purpose.
Asked whether there was a reason not to release the US video of the entire episode, Mullen said, “I know the secretary has got it. We’re considering it.”