President Donald Trump on Wednesday tweeted that he had instructed the US Navy to fire on Iranian boats harassing US ships, a week after a tense encounter in the Persian Gulf.
“I have instructed the U.S. Navy to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea,” Trump said.
Earlier, the US military said that 11 Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy boats had repeatedly approached US warships in the Persian Gulf in a dangerous and harassing manner.
According to the US Naval Forces Central Command, they approached the six US ships at high speed in some cases within about nine metres.
It, however, said it had to avoid collision with evasive manoeuvres and luckily nobody was injured.
According to the US forces, the Iranian boats violated the safety rules of shipping and international law with dangerous and provocative actions.
The incident occurred in international waters during an exercise involving Apache attack helicopters.
The US has classified Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organisation.
Trump’s tweet came hours after Iran launched a military satellite into space.
According to the state-run News Agency Irna, the Revolutionary Guards launched the “Nur-1” (Light-1) satellite on Wednesday in an undisclosed desert area and successfully placed it in an orbit at a height of 425km in two stages.
The US is generally critical of the Iranian satellite programme due to fears that Iran may use space technology to build long-range military missiles.