AFP: The commander of a US warship gave the order to fire on an approaching Iranian speedboat in the Strait of Hormuz last month but it turned away just in time, the US military chief said Wednesday. WASHINGTON (AFP) The commander of a US warship gave the order to fire on an approaching Iranian speedboat in the Strait of Hormuz last month but it turned away just in time, the US military chief said Wednesday.
No shots were fired during the incident which occurred January 6 when Iranian boats approached three US warships at high speed as they transited the strait at the mouth of the Gulf.
Admiral Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the United States wanted to a avoid any miscalculations but it had to rely on the judgments of its commanding officers.
“From my perspective there is wisdom in relying on their judgement, as we did the other day,” he told the House Armed Services Committee.
One of the commanding officers “had literally given the order to fire and it turns out one of the fast boats turned about simultaneously,” Mullen said.
US Defense Secretary Robert Gates he issued a guidance to US forces shortly after taking office that they not provoke the Iranians.
“I wanted to make sure that we were not being provocative, and that we were operating well within the baselines, in terms both where aircraft were flying and also where our ships were steaming,” Gates said.
At the same time, he said, “The Iranians can have no illusions about the consequences of trying to attack one of our ships.”