London, 17 Nov – Iran is impeding the freedom of movement of the US Navy in the Persian Gulf and in the Red Sea.
The lack of pushback from the USA in this matter has led to Iran exhibiting more violent behaviour towards their navy.
On December 26, 2015, an Iranian ship fired “multiple unguided rockets” near to the aircraft carrier USS Truman. Shortly after, Iran seized two US Navy riverine crafts and captured 10 sailors; holding them at gunpoint.
Since then, Iranian vessels have threatened US ships on 30 different occasions.
This does not even include the attacks on American ships from the Iranian-armed Houthi rebels in Yemen; they fired upon the guided-missile destroyer USS Mason last month.
The US has been incredibly restrained, often allowing Iranian ships to get too close or even fire upon them before firing so much as a warning shot.
In an op-ed for Breaking Defense, Kirkland Donald, a former director of the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, and John Bird, a former commander of the 7th Fleet, wrote: “While such restraint might appear prudent, in fact, it only emboldens all aggressors toward more reckless behaviour, establishes a dangerous precedent of unresponsiveness and undermines U.S. credibility.”
They warn that this shows American weakness on the global stage to countries like Russia, China, and North Korea, who may wish to challenge the US.
They wrote: “It is no coincidence that China is now trying to muscle U.S. ships out of the South China Sea by militarizing reefs and declaring a new zone of control.”